Photography, Pause, Reset

A rising theme in articles I’ve read around Covid-19 this week, is the view that this enforced pause on “normal” life most of us have experienced, has caused many to take stock and reconsider what’s most important.

The kind of objectivity and space to think that all but disappears when we’re caught up in the whirl and chase of the day to day, has been presented in abundance.

So how might this apply specifically to photography?

What if you put your photography passion on pause, pressed the reset button, and started all over again?

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What would this look like for you, what would you do first?

Please let us know in the comments below (and don’t forget to tick the “Notify me of new comments via email” box to follow the conversation).

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20 thoughts on “Photography, Pause, Reset”

  1. Hi Dan, there are a lot of things we can do during that pause. I believe it’s healthy to take breaks from time to time no matter what you’re into. Because even in those times your passion just takes the back seat, it’s never too far away so you can enjoy other things properly and then implement what you feel necessary or important later into your passion (photography).

    1. Yes it’s great if we can program these breaks into our lives naturally, but usually more often we end up only pausing when it’s somehow forced on us.

      I think we can pursue a kind of gradual, continuous evolution with photography (or indeed any other hobby). We don’t need to throw everything out and start again every time we pick up a camera, but small changes in what, how and where we shoot keep us interested and growing.

  2. In a way I experienced that at the time when film was dying off and digital was starting up. For a period both were too expensive to indulge in, and digital was not yet that good quality. So the photography stopped and life went on. I didn’t really pick up on pictures again until I got the Kodak DX3900, and then it was only snapshots with the occasional artistic view. When the P850 became affordable for me, my photography ramped up more. When that was replaced by the Nikon P610 I was going full-artistic, and the addition of the Canon T100 enabled me to return to my youth and endless experimental images.
    I’m pretty much in an artistic mode these days. Not so much documentation, and most of the expeiments are art-centric.

    1. It would be interesting to see charts of the cost of the average DSLR over time, to find that tipping point where digital became considered affordable to the masses. Of course also with the early days of digital, the technology was increasing at a faster rate too, and there was a much smaller used market. So even if you were happy to have a second hand camera, it would still be very expensive because of the lack of them sold in the first place, and the technology would be behind where you’d want to be with the latest model(s).

      Again, there must have been a tipping point where one could pick up a digital camera that was more than good enough for an amateur photographer, and they were old enough to be very affordable. Around 2011 perhaps, a five year old (2006) DSLR like the Pentax K100D would have been vastly cheaper to buy used than when it was new, and still very capable. As they are today, and even cheaper of course!

      One of the benefits of digital is after that initial investment (which can be very modest, as just discussed) you can as experimental as you wish, and anything you don’t like, just delete and try again.

  3. What if you put your photography passion on pause, pressed the reset button, and started all over again?

    Due to health challenges I have already had a pause in my photography in 2019 and had already reset in 2018 and was rearing to go and then COVID-19 happened and all my plans are on pause again.

    I wanted to do more wildlife photography and had booked a few workshops for 2020. Paused.
    My wife and I had plans to travel around the Mid-Atlantic and New England states. Paused.
    I had planned on doing more film photography. Paused.

    1. Khürt, why is your film photography paused? I understand about the workshops and travelling plans of course, but I’ve been reading of many film photogrpahers who are shooting more currently, as supplies, developing etc can all be done online and via the post without having to venture far yourself.

      1. If I were travelling, I would perhaps have more patience for film. I would use it to document my travels and don’t need to see things in real-time and I would busy. But being in physical isolation and stuck in place, I may only capture one of two images a day. I don’t want to wait 12-18 days + turn around time before I see those images.

      2. How do you normally get film processed, as soon as you’ve finished a roll, or do you save up a few rolls and get a batch done – like all rolls shot on one trip developed together? I didn’t used to mind waiting for film to be developed but I think if I went back now I’d be far more impatient. I just love the immediate feedback with digital that means you can learn on the spot and adapt and experiment as you go. With film that process feels 100 times slower and far more hit and miss – without making copious notes about the settings used for each photo, which would spoil the flow of the experience, for me.

    1. Thanks for the mention Khürt. Just to point out my blog is 35hunter though, 35mmc is run by Hamish Gill. I wouldn’t want to be laying claim to anyone else’s work.

  4. If I was going to do a reset it’d be to concentrate on being more of a true photoblog, with a daily frame and a few notes, that’s all. The freedom to share anything. Not feel self-conscious from one day to the next, not worry about whether I lived up to anyone else’s standards or unrealistic self-imposed ones, just put the perfectionism off and not worry about any quality control standards. Enjoy the kind of consistency I’ve never been able to attain in all the years I’ve been journaling on the web.

    1. So what’s to stop you doing just that, having a new blog with just images and a few notes each day? Do you mean consistency in your images, or consistency as in blogging regularly month after month, year after year?

      1. Honestly, one barrier is just the way portrait orientation looks on my site. When I post a picture by itself, it’s surrounded by too much empty space on the sides. I can’t stand the way it looks, it’s very off-putting to me. Changing my set-up wholesale at this point would wreck a hodge-podge house o’ cards of old formatting. So over time I’ve been very slowly experimenting with different themes and formats. In a couple of years I might hit on one.

      2. I agree to an extent, whilst the majority of photographs I make are landscape orientation, I do take a few as portrait (though they’re rarely actual portraits, usually doorways or flowers), but they are hugely underrepresented proportionally in blog posts here. With landscape I use the 1024px wide version on Flickr, but if I do the same for portrait they seem much too big, I use the 640 x 480px image. But yes then it does leave more white space each size and doesn’t look as satisfying aesthetically.

        Maybe if you were going to have a blog that was image only it could be very simple with a single central column, no sidebars etc, so all images, also central, would look good?

        Personally I don’t like (again, aesthetically) reading text or viewing images that aren’t central on the screen, it’s just jarring. But I know that probably 90% of blogs are arranged like this, so I’m in the minority!

  5. Honestly, if I had to pause and restart, or if I had to do it all over again, I’m not sure I’d do things a whole lot different than what I am doing now. I think I’m doing mostly the best with what I can do…
    But of course the point of the pause and restart would be to rethink. If I spent a good amount of time just to rethink my approach to photography, I might see things I’m not seeing now. But I already overthink things quite a bit so I’m not sure how much I would find if I thought even more 🙂

      1. I don’t know if I”m doing something right, or if I’m already at the top of my limited ability 😆
        Of course, if I had more money to spend, I’m sure I’d have a different setup by now. Maybe I’d be messing with film a lot more. But I’m not sure my results would be any better…

  6. Great thought Dan. My answer comes back to my earlier comment about smaller, simpler cameras. I haven’t really loved photography as much as when I shot everything with my little Nikon three years ago. It was fun then and has risked becoming something else since. A reset would mean shooting only with my smallest Lumix and enjoying making pictures again. Perhaps that’s what I should do?

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