A fresh start
The other day, I heard something on a podcast that really struck a nerve: “If you’re not enjoying photography, you become more and more likely to abandon it.”
That might sound a little dramatic, but sadly, it’s exactly the trajectory I’ve been on lately when it comes to my photography journey. The feelings of excitement and anticipation I used to get when I picked up a camera have turned to feelings of duty, obligation, and even dread. I’ve been shooting things I feel like I’m “supposed” to shoot, or shooting things other people want me to shoot.
I’ve spent a lot of time trying to figure out how to turn photography into a business. I’ve spent even more time pursuing a “cohesive style” and “overarching vision” for my photography so I could feel like “true artist.” (And yes, I meant to use all those quotes.)
But somewhere along the line, I lost the simple wonder and joy of rediscovering the world through my lens.
For a while, I thought seriously about selling all my gear and pursuing other creative endeavors. But then I took the photo above and realized that I’m not ready to do that just yet. Instead, I think I’ll make some pretty drastic changes, and see if I can reclaim a little bit of the magic photography used to hold for me.
I’m still working out what all these big changes will look like, but I know it starts with a new intention and direction. No more clients, no more business, no more photo sessions. Whew! Despite encouragement from family and friends, I have to admit that all that stuff is just not a good fit for me. Maybe it’s my perfectionism. Maybe it’s about where my true talents lie. Maybe it’s my highly introverted personality, with a hefty dose of social awkwardness. Most likely, it’s a combination of all those things. But it’s okay. Not everyone is cut out for portrait sessions or a photography business and I’m okay being one of those who is just not.
I’m completely happy to sell my portrait gear and focus on other photographic pursuits.
And speaking of photographic pursuits, I plan to shoot whatever I want to shoot, as long as I truly want to shoot it. I’ll take pictures of backyard wildlife, or just the crazy cats who live with us. I’ll experiment again with macro, and try out some flat-lay photography. Maybe I’ll take a million pictures of my morning coffee, simply because I feel like it.
I’ll work hard on not worrying about what others think, but instead focus on shooting for myself. I’ll edit every photo the way I feel like editing it, without worrying about whether it will “fit” in my existing portfolio.
I’ll play. I’ll learn. I’ll experiment. I’ll have fun.
I won’t pressure myself to get out the camera for certain events or moments, but I’ll appreciate when everything lines up just right and I capture my youngest on laundry day, moving clothes from washer to dryer, but caught up in a daydream for just a moment.
Those moments are exactly why I started picking up the camera years ago. It’s time to get back to the joy.