Do you feel like you are living in a parallel world where time both seemingly stops but also goes at a rate faster than before? Have the constant restrictions paralyzed you and left you unable to foresee picking up your camera anytime soon?
First of all, there is a distinction between internally coming up with excuses not to continue with your photography because you feel artistically underwhelmed and unstimulated and not picking up your camera because you have had to take on a different role in your personal or professional life to keep yourself or your family afloat, leaving you exhausted from this change in your daily routine. If it’s the latter, there is no reason to punish yourself for not keeping up with your previous profession or hobby — in those times, we can be thankful that we are still managing to continue at all.
However, if your camera is gathering dust on a shelf because you feel like your current environment is not exciting or engaging enough anymore for you to warrant picking it up, I’d like to encourage you to reconsider it. We find ourselves in a strange void where we can be overtly stimulated because many are in a similar situation and are pumping out content on social media. On the other hand, as we put our phone down or turn off our laptop, depending on your national and local restrictions, we can find ourselves twiddling our thumbs because there isn’t anywhere to go or anything to do. Or rather, that’s how it appears. But, it doesn’t have to be that way.
As many have already pointed out, we are all adapting to the new way of life, whether it is in our business or in how we socialize and entertain ourselves. This means adjusting our expectations of what is possible, and equally, we may need to disregard some of the things or thoughts we may still cling onto from the time before COVID-19 swept across the world. If you are waiting for that strong urge or inspiration to dawn on you one day, it may never arrive. If you are waiting for things to go back to how they were so you can resume your photography the same way you used to, that day may not come anytime soon either.
What you might want to consider is doing a figurative reset in your creative life to be able to continue it without losing the passion, the experience you have gained so far, and everything you have achieved. Lowering your expectations is not necessarily a bad thing because that might just be what you need to resume shooting and creating. Just because you might not be able to travel or hire locations or models that you enjoy working with, it doesn’t mean you should sit around and wait. If you are struggling to think of a shoot or project yourself, a simple search online will reveal hundreds of ideas for you to choose from. The more you harness your artistic expression, whatever the circumstances, the more you will improve as an artist, providing that is your goal. All the obstacles we encounter today will help us become better at figuring out an alternative way to arrive at our intended destination.
With that in mind, perhaps next time you are doubting your creative future and the lack of inspiration, target your attention towards a more systematic and pragmatic approach of easing yourself back into shooting. Work on your archives to see where you left off and give your potential future photography projects the attention you would give to any project by formulating the goals and planning it. Make it easier to quickly reach for your camera by keeping it handy and ready to be used. Don’t disregard the little moments and possible compositions you see around you every day just in the comfort of your own home or on the way to a grocery store. As with most things in life, we can’t simply wait around, but we have to mindfully act.
How are you coping in the first month of 2021? Do you find yourself creatively stagnated? Do you use photography as a way to release your frustrations, stresses, or worries?