This corona-madness has lasted for far too long, and it will probably last for a while more. There’s no doubt that 2020 has been hard. Even if we haven’t contracted the virus, many of us have been depressed, anxious, out of work, unable to travel… Because of all that, we may not really feel like shooting, or we just don’t think there’s anything to shoot. If you’re a hobbyist like me, maybe you feel like giving up photography at this point. Well, this video from Spencer Cox addresses this feeling, and it could be exactly what you need to hear right now.
Spencer kept it short and sweet, and straight to the point. If you’ve felt like giving up photography lately, this is definitely something to watch, and I’ll give you some of my thoughts and experiences from this weird year as well.
Personally, I shoot most when I travel. But the last time I went anywhere out of Serbia was in February 2020. I visited Zagreb, Croatia and I haven’t left my country since I came back. When the coronavirus came to Serbia, we entered the lockdown and everything has been crazy ever since. In this article, I wrote about the lack of creativity in isolation. I sure was there and didn’t really feel like shooting much during the spring… But it’s already November and I still don’t feel like it most of the time. At one point, I even thought I should give up photography and sell my gear.
Sure, there’s nothing wrong with giving up if you’re sure that you just aren’t passionate about photography anymore. But if you are, remember that we all have creative blocks. The problem is, though, that this creative block has been the longest ever. I know it’s been like this for me, and judging from Spencer’s video, it’s been the same for him as well. Have you felt the same?
I have definitely had the longest creative block in my life: it has lasted for some six months now. Spencer says that this is the first time he’s had a gap in his Lightroom catalog, with two months without shooting anything. I personally think that, in this situation, you shouldn’t be desperate about it. You shouldn’t force yourself into anything, but especially not beat yourself up because you shoot less.
When I started to think about selling my gear, I told myself: “what the hell, dude?!” I decided to cut myself some slack and stop beating myself up. I just told myself I’d shoot when I felt like it, regardless of the gear, and it was really liberating. I started relying on my phone a little more instead of going out with my camera and forcing myself into taking photos. And guess what: I actually shot more photos in the past month than I did during the five months before it. It’s all everyday stuff I spotted at home and in the neighborhood, but it has kept me going.
In the video, Spencer suggests pretty much what I started doing: shoot in your own area, at home, in your backyard. You can revisit your favorite places, or discover new ones. It doesn’t even matter if you fail and don’t get home with perfect shots. After all, even failed shoots help us learn some lessons. And if you get that one perfect shot, or more of them, even better, because they’ll make you remember why you started enjoying photography in the first place.
But there’s something else that you’ll get from shooting, either at home or in your neighborhood or city. You’ll spend some quality time away from the news and social media, and all of us sure need that right now. If you go out, you’ll get some fresh air and take a walk, which is always a good idea. And all this combined will be beneficial for your mental health. Plus, even photography alone can help you combat depression and deal with difficult times.
The bottom line is: even if you’ve felt like you’re experiencing the creative block that will last forever, don’t just give up. But also, don’t beat yourself up because you don’t shoot. Take it easy, enjoy the world around you and when you see something photo-worthy, just rely on your phone to capture it. This will keep your creative muscle in shape, and when you have an idea for a shoot or when you travel again – you’ll be ready and you’ll enjoy it like you always have.
Tell me now – how are you doing? Have you felt like you’ve been trapped in the longest creative block in your life? Or you have been creative during the isolation, lockdowns and all.
[Don’t Give Up On Photography! | Spencer Cox]