Today, for the first time in months, I found myself picking up a camera (other than my iPhone) and actively creating images. This is something I’ve missed over the past months, something I’m happy to be back to but something that I needed the time away from for the last little while.
Half a Year
About six months ago I made the personal decision to pass on doing paid photography work. I found that it was taking away from my love of photography and kept me from creating imagery for myself. The battle I was having with paid photography work got to a point where I hadn’t picked up a camera for personal shooting in over a year to create any new images.
Once I made the decision to forego any future paid photography work I slowly started to sell off most of my photography gear (with some still left to go). I realized for the type of things I want to shoot, and how I enjoy creating photographs, that all of the gear I had wasn’t conducive to what I wanted to create and that my needs were far simpler.
I went to a smaller camera, no flash and next to nothing else. No tripod (although I have a Gorilla pod that I’ve never actually used but am keeping), no fancy lenses, no flash triggers (still trying to sell these); just me and my micro four-thirds camera.
Even after foregoing paid work and reducing the amount of gear I had at my disposal I found myself not picking up my camera, and for all arguments sake, distancing myself from most things photographic. I wasn’t creating new images, editing, post-processing or looking at the work of others; I was taking a sabbatical of some sort from everything photographic.
Looking back I wasn’t sure if I simply lost the enjoyment of photography in myself or needed a simple break from it, but now, having picked up a camera today and created a couple of images I am proud of, I now realize that it was simply a break I needed to give myself in order to reflect on photography as a whole.
What I’ve realized over the past months is that while paid photography was great, and what I was getting paid to do I really enjoyed, what I really love to shoot, create and share are images of a more personal, raw and public nature. Personal in that they are the images I want to create, raw in that they aren’t staged and public in that not only are they captured in public spaces and focus on public elements but they are images that I want to share with others so that they can see what I see.
So I hope that over the coming months I can get back into the swing of things and put together a collection of images that I am excited to create and proud to share with others. I’ve been working on putting together a formal and refined portfolio over the past few weeks not because I want to sell myself as a photographer but simply because I want to be able to have something that illustrates the type of images I love to create. In the past I’ve put together “portfolios” but they haven’t been thought out, consistent or representative of who I am or the images that I create and this time around I’m making and honest and deliberate attempt at it.
Anyone reading what I just wrote, including myself, will note that I made reference to using my iPhone a few times. Like many it is the camera that I always have on me and there is no denying that I use it to create imagery almost daily. Most of the images I’ve been creating with it as of late have been via Instagram and I’ve been trying to be more deliberate in the images I create and share. With that said, I’m still not using the iPhone enough to create images I love because I’ve still been unable to make it fit my style of shooting and work with the “ergonomics” I need in a camera design. As a phone and smartphone the iPhone has a great design but as a camera it isn’t as comfortable as I’d like it to be.