What I’ve been struggling with lately is this:

You have to take photographs to be a photographer.

Seems pretty self-explanatory, doesn’t it?

Well, recently, I have definitely NOT been a photographer. I am not ashamed to admit that I have been feeling as though I am in the midst of a dry spell when it comes to finding inspiration or interesting things to capture through my lens. I’m not sure if it is because I’ve been extremely busy, or whether it goes deeper and I’m subconsciously taking a step back from the craft as a whole. If I’m being honest (which I hope to always be on this blog), then I would have to say that I haven’t felt the thrill of holding my camera and discovering sights and moments through it lately. I don’t know if it’s because I’m bored of it or my creativity has checked out or what.

Whatever it is, I’m feeling okay with it.

And that, in the same instance, scares me and thrills me.

For one, I am scared to think that my passion for photographing things and people could be extinguished so unexpectedly and so quickly. I am scared to admit that I am not always taking photos with endless creativity because if I do admit that, you (meaning the readers of this blog, my clients, my prospective clients, the population in general, etc.) may see me as a fake or a phony based on my claim that I am a photographer. If I have these bouts of indifference towards my camera, I am told (through other blogs or other photographers’ opinions) it means I am not a true photographer. And I so want to be! So it scares me to admit to the world that I am going through a photographic dry spell.

On the other hand, it also thrills me to think that I can accept this point in my life as being what it is and possibly just what it needs to be. It’s thrilling to think that I can be okay with putting the camera down for a while and living my life instead of just trying to record it. That I can embrace the dry spell, and start storing away little creative bits and pieces for another time when it may be more feasible for me to flesh them out and really work on them. I may just be at a stretch of road that doesn’t include photographs. And that can be okay.

Does that mean I’m giving up on this craft completely and that this whole time I’ve just been pretending to love it? Of course not. It just means that I am allowing myself to take a step back, let the inspiration come if it will, and not force it. I never produce really great work if I’m trying to force it, and I’m slowly learning this. 

So yes, while these recent moments in my life have been ones of photographic non-existence, I am learning to release the self-imposed pressure that comes with them, inwardly telling me that I need to produce something of interest and beauty and substance and I need to do it right this moment or else I’ll be exposed as a fraud. I’m allowing it to unfold and naturally happen if it will, without getting caught up in the “what will people think” trap. And trust me, that is a very hard thing for me to do, but I’m working on it.

The way I can do this is by remembering that I know that it will come back. I know that one day I’ll pick up my camera again and lovingly start shooting away. It will happen.



Renee said...

It's like what someone said at work to me the other day, you know its 'your passion' if you think about it everyday. You are obviously thinking about it and what not, but that doesn't mean you have to be on it all the time. Like, (I am totally going to make myself sound like a dork but) I think about Latin everyday, but I'm not doing it and I am okay with that.

Because yes, there's other things that take priority, but you know that you can always revisit it. I mean, everyone needs a break once in while.

And when you do pick up that camera again, I'm sure it will still be amazing and more! :)

Joseph & Tracy Larsen said...

Don't feel bad! I haven't been teaching dance all summer and I don't miss it one bit, nor am I ready to go back! I think that when you are immersed in motherhood, other things get put on hold for a season! ... and you are an AMAZING photographer, so don't ever tell yourself otherwise! :)

Emily Busath Murdock said...

It's okay to have "seasons" in life. It doesn't mean that something isn't important to you or that you're not good at it, it just means that it's the "season" for something else.
(That sounded a little Grams-ish...haha!)

You have to allow yourself to feel what you feel and be okay with that.

And remember what I told you (and you didn't believe me!) ?? When it becomes a "job" it is verrrrrry easy for the passion to get extinguished because it. is. a. JOB. It starts to become more than just something you do for fun, when you feel like it. It becomes something that you have to be anxiously engaged in all the time or you cease to be a pro. Or something like that. You start to be more about the clients than about yourself and it falls apart. It's an easy place to get to.

So just take a deep breath, realize that you're doing the one thing that HF wants you to focus on during this season of your life -- motherhood -- and let it come back later, if the time becomes right. And in the meantime, don't stop taking pictures of your own family, you'll regret that. :)

Love you. You're crazy-talented. Don't ever forget it.

And you CAN be a photographer without taking pictures. Being a photographer is more about SEEING the world in a special way than clicking a shutter.