On patience, humility, and knowing that sometimes, it’s good to put the camera down.
If you’re like me, someone who looks at photography as a hobby or creative outlet, then a full-time profession, you might sometimes experience other priorities taking over in life. Interventions with your job, family, health, and other hobbies or something as unexpected as this year’s Covid-19 outbreak, can put a break on your creative endeavors. Just like it did on mine.
Hobbyists are more prone to being distracted from their art than professionals. Disclaimer: you can be professional and hobbyist at the same time, but for this argument’s sake, let’s consider a professional someone who earns money as a primary source of income from photography.
You see, if your livelihood depends on producing art, you just have to keep on creating. On the other hand, in the case of photography being a hobby, is it easier to drop the ball, so to speak? Your art (hobby) can get derailed on a lower priority lane. Suddenly, you find yourself going weeks without really focusing on your art. The more time you spend waiting for the right moment to come back, the harder it gets.
Since recently (a few weeks ago), I started to feel the need of producing again. Writing and taking pictures. However, I took no action whatsoever when I started to feel the yearning. And then, still no action. Weeks and months went by, making me more and more nervous about my inability to get back. Why is it so damn hard?
Let me explain my routine from earlier this year. This is approximately how my week looked like:
- I’d listen to photography and innovation podcasts every day on my commute or when I went for a run
- I ran almost daily
- I would note down anything interesting I heard or read immediately into my phone and come back to it later (my blogging ideation process)
- I would go out and shoot street photography at least twice a week
- in between, I would focus on my job as a workspace consultant
It seemed to have been going so well, I even overachieved my weekly and monthly writing goals. So what has changed and how on earth did I get from there to here? From writing 4 or more pieces a month to 0?
For one, I was not ready to deal with such a disruption in my life as the Covid-19. No one has. I give myself a break for this and so should everybody else.
It is also likely, my habits were not as strong as I considered them to be. You see, it’s so damn easy for to:
- stop running
- stop listening to podcasts
- stop creating images
- stop making notes
- give in to the inactivity, status quo, the moment, the Netflix…
- to wait for what happens next.
Do you know what happens next? … You’re right. Nothing.
How to come back to the life known, the life productive, the life content, the life fulfilled? The only reasonable thing to do is to change the list above. STOP becomes START.
I slowly started taking pictures again. I also returned to my podcasts, a bit of running, and some note-taking. I’ve changed some of the processes since the beginning of the year, but the core has remained the same.
Here are some other images that took me half a year to create:
If it works this time? Time will tell.