Over the last 15 years I’ve been photographing with intention, my photographic output has had its ebbs and flows, without any obvious patterns.
But it’s become clear that in the last three months or so, I’ve definitely made fewer photographers than in some time, and probably in years.
Now this isn’t something I’m concerned about, but I thought it might be interesting to explore why.
First, while the pandemic has not, fortunately, had any significant impact on us or our extended family, it has of course changed a number of areas of our life.
The children were schooled at home for the best part of four months, with all the juggling and increased flexibility (patience, commitment and tolerance) that required.
My marvellous wife excelled herself, and I was able to be at home more with my own day job shifting to more working from home, now about 50/50 home/office.
On this front, it was a slow start, and there was a period where we were on a Working From Home (WFH)/office rota without any devices to work on at home, increasing pressure on those in the office.
But eventually we were allocated laptops in place of our desktop PCs, which we can take to and from home and the office.
A docking station for the laptop in the office for additional monitors and hardwired internet then left to our own devices (no pun intended!) at home.
Early on I decided that the office set up of laptop plus two decent widescreens was excessive, so took one home, and created a similar set up wherever I am – the main big external screen in front of me, with the laptop below, acting as a vertical second screen extension below the first, when needed.
Some apparently use just the laptop (a decent enough Dell Windows machine, but only 14″, when we were used to twin 21″ (I think) widescreens previously) at home, which I would struggle with for any extensive period, especially with all the map work we do, and working with multiple documents/maps at once.
Overall, the 50/50 WFH/office set up is working well and means I can walk with the family more in the day when they’re around, and/or have lunch with (some of) them, none of which could happen if I was out at work all day.
Now I wouldn’t say this change has impacted my photography directly, as I rarely took a camera to work to use on lunchtime walks anyway.
But perhaps having more time with the family – both because the children and my wife, who works in a school but was on maternity leave, were at home so much more over lockdown, and because I’m WFH half the week – has made us closer and more involved with each other I feel.
I’ve spoken before about finding new habits to write for 35hunter, and perhaps the same thing needed to happen for photography for it to continue at its previous rate. But didn’t.
But whereas with writing I wanted to create new habits to allow a consistent publishing plan, with photography I didn’t – and still don’t – feel the same urgency, or even necessity.
Once I get into making photography too regimented (eg you must go out at 7am every Saturday and make 100 photographs) it doesn’t work.
It feels like a bit of a chore, and like I’m going through the motions, rather than really anticipating and enjoying the experience and how magical it can be.
Going forward, I’m not sure much will change.
As I write this in early November, my camera for October, the Lumix FZ38, didn’t see much action. But, more crucially, I have really enjoyed using it when I have gone out (perhaps three or four times) and I haven’t felt pressured to shoot more with it.
In fact I’m likely to repeat the One Month One Camera project with the same camera into this month.
And I’m more than happy with my favourite images I’ve made with the Lumix over last month.
So whilst my photography output and frequency has fallen, I wouldn’t say my enjoyment has.
How about you? How are you enjoying photography currently? How has it changed this year?
As always, 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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