Do you ever feel sick of photography? I know I do, and it recently came as far as thinking about selling all my gear. I was feeling uninspired, I didn’t have the need of taking photos at all, and I just felt… kinda like a fraud when someone referred to me as a photographer.
Does it sound familiar? Have you had those thoughts too? If this video from Mark Denney is just what you need to watch today. It came at the right time for me, and I hope it will give you the guidance and inspiration you need.
I think all of us have felt fed up with photography, no matter if we’re professionals or just hobbyists. But I think it happens even more to those of you who do it for a living, especially if you focus on a specific genre or style. At this point, you have a decision to make. As Mark puts it, there are three paths you can take: quit (for now) and have a very long break from photography; keep doing what you’re doing and hope for better days; or stick with your photography, but change something. There’s no wrong answer here, and you can choose what suits you best. But, Mark finds the third option to be the best one.
Do something different
Stepping out of your comfort zone and out of your “box” can be a precious experience and a source of new inspiration. Let’s say you only shoot landscapes as Mark does. Try using a telephoto lens and focus more on details. If your photos normally have a sky in them, try only shooting scenes without including the sky. Even a small change in your regular approach can freshen you up.
Alternatively, you can change the genre completely. If you shoot weddings, give street or landscape photography a shot. The point is to give yourself a challenge and explore a genre or a technique you’re not so familiar with. You can decide on one or several of these challenges and…
Start a project
If you work as a photographer full-time, “project” may want you to turn around and run away from this article. But wait, don’t go! If it’s your personal project, something you thought of yourself, it will actually be fun. The point of making it a project is to keep you consistent and devoted. Plan it ahead, write down your ideas, and give yourself a timeline of when it should be completed. This way you’ll have a structure, but also something that pushes you forward.
A note for hobbyist photographers
This part is something I’d like to add as a hobbyist who doesn’t make a living from photography. Over the past year or two, I’ve been occupied by so many other hobbies that I neglected photography. On the one hand, I feel guilty for not taking photos as I perceive photography as an important part of my identity. But on the other hand, my creativity just seems to be flowing in totally different directions. I’m inspired to make jewelry, embroidery, and all kinds of knick-knacks out of clay, concrete, and plaster. I even started making my own natural cosmetics. A friend of mine jokes that I might have ADHD, but I think I’m just trying to find myself. Again.
If you’re in a similar situation, I say just let it be. Allow yourself to get creative and explore all of the hobbies and interests that you have. Just like in photography, gear doesn’t matter all too much as long as you’re just playing and experimenting, so you don’t need to spend a bunch of money on the fanciest equipment for whichever hobby.
In case you’re just fed up with photography and don’t have a gazillion other hobbies as I do – that’s perfectly fine and perfectly normal. It all comes down to making the decision from the beginning of this article. What I’d personally do is just what Mark suggests: try changing something and thinking of a project I could work on. But whatever you decide, go easy on yourself and have faith that your creativity will return – in one form or the other!
[I’m Sick of Landscape Photography | Mark Denney]