Back to Basics

Like many other photographers, I lost my mojo during the pandemic and I’m struggling to get it back. While in the early days of 2020, as we entered the first lockdown, I was prolific in my image making, by lockdown number three in the new year of 2021 I was both physically and emotionally drained and I had no desire to take pictures. I thought my mojo would naturally return when summer arrived, restrictions ended and life attempted to get back to some kind of normality, but it hasn’t happened. I’m still struggling and my usual all-consuming desire to be creative has vamoosed.

The few images I have attempted to construct have ended in dismal failure. As someone who has suffered from Imposter Syndrome during my eight years as a photographer, crippling self doubt has returned and there are days when I wonder if I will ever produce another good photograph as long as I live. Or even if I want to.

I met with my best friend recently, and knowing how important my creativity is to my mental well being we both agreed it’s a state of affairs which can’t be allowed to continue. But what to do about it is the question? We talked about my early days as a novice photographer and the types of pictures I captured, which I realised were almost entirely focused on insects. I found all sorts of miniature creatures in the hedgerows while I was out walking my dog and would spend hours sat in my tiny garden mesmerized by an entire world I hadn’t even realised existed before. Despite not owning a macro lens back then or editing my images, some of my early pictures are surprisingly ok and re-ignited nostalgic feelings of the pure joy and excitement I felt in those early days with my camera.

So last month I decided to just take pictures, of anything and everything. To not worry about how good or bad they were or whether they were competition worthy. To just get lost once again in the life which teams all around me, yet to which I’m often oblivious. And it was magical.

I’d forgotten what it’s like to take the pressure off and take photos purely because I want to, not because there’s a competition looming or I haven’t updated my Saatchi Art page. When you begin to achieve photographic success there is an expectation that you will constantly churn out award winning images and I was feeling the weight of that on my shoulders. It was liberating to take pictures purely for the fun of it again and to rediscover the reason I became hooked on photography in the first place. I’d actually forgotten that I take photographs for me not for anyone else and it doesn’t matter if they’re good, bad or indifferent so long as I enjoy the process.

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