I moved back home from my 2nd semester of college a few weeks ago, walked into my bedroom, and I just felt like it needed to change. The pictures on the wall had been there for almost two years and the furniture configuration seemed like it needed help.
While I was living at school, my brother moved out of the attic a floor above my room and left me the space to do what I wish. Photography has become more and more of an everyday obsession for me for the past few years and ironically going to school for photography did a few things:
– I learned a few things worth knowing. More or less things I had known about but hadn’t delved too far into them.
– Shot film for class assignments which always is a bit weird for a kid coming from digital.
Other than those two things I think college this year felt like it has distanced me from my passion more than anything else. Having spent a lot of time in my dorm room, photography became more of a cerebral pasttime for me. I spent most of my extra time looking at other people’s work online and learning about things I hadn’t attempted yet. I came to the conclusion that studio lighting was a frontier on which I had not even stepped foot. Also, not shooting a lot of my own personal work this year made it difficult to continue on the same trajectory from before the start of the school year in September. This idea is probably worth expounding upon in an entirely separate post so I’ll probably have more on that at a later date.
Naturally, when I returned home for the summer, I took advantage of the opportunity to move into the attic up stairs. The major restriction on experimenting with studio lighting for me was available space. It still is a bit of a challenge sometimes, but previously I had not even had a second thought as to whether or not I should even bother buying some lights to play with because I simply did not have the space for them. What would be the point in spending money on something you can’t use?
Now that the attic was at my disposal, I moved my computers, bookshelves and videogames up there. The attic has become my new photo editing workspace as well as a bit of a hangout area. The room is divided in half by a chimney, so I am now able to separate the work from the play as opposed to my old space which didn’t really have enough room for anything.
I bought a bunch of Ikea desks for one side of the attic because I outgrew my old desk. My old desk was not really capable of providing enough space for a laptop, keyboard, and Wacom tablet all on one surface area. My new desk gives me more room than I know what to do with.
The other end is basically a book-reading area with a futon and some videogames with a TV. In my old room I was always unable to obtain a videogame/mostly book reading area and a workspace area without making one of them extremely untidy while the other was in use. With this new space nothing is cluttered and I am able to work more efficiently. On top of that, having my computer area moved out of my bedroom affords me a few less distractions. Previously, I was inclined to stay up and work on pictures way beyond a reasonable hour of the night because “The computer’s right there so I can just hop right in bed when I’m done.” You wouldn’t really think so unless you did it for yourself, but removing all electronics from my bedroom has definitely helped me get to bed on time.
I also had enough space in the attic to set my drums back up. I really want to make both my rooms as creative as humanly possible so it’s nice to have them setup, they work a lot better in this configuration than stacked out in the barn.
Basically all my old room consists of now is a bed and a small backdrop for experimenting with lighting. I’m glad I have had the space and the time to separate the different components of my old room into two separate spaces and ultimately make them all a bit more efficient. There are no downsides here.
In the future, whenever I acquire more space, I’ll keep in mind that it’s always better to have a room that does one or two things fairly well and not ten things with great difficulty. Seems obvious right? Spring cleaning is a beautiful thing, it’s always worth taking a step back and seeing if you can’t utilize the space you have to better accomplish its original intended purpose.