Take a break. What does that even mean anymore? Does everyone take breaks? It seems more and more in this society that we are always “ON” or expected to be ON.
As a photographer/artist with a decent following on social media that being “ON” all the time becomes pressure. The pressure to create, the pressure to share, the pressure to engage and the pressure to always have content. It’s what we’re “supposed” to do, right?
Pressure? What pressure?
Who says? Most of this pressure is self-inflicted, I realize that. But sometimes we feel our compass is not exactly sure which way to point. When this happens it’s good to step back from it all. This does not mean quitting photography. Most of us couldn’t do that — it’s part of who we are.
Sometimes we need to take a break just to step back and let life go. To allow ourselves to just be. That means doing what you feel like doing at any given moment. It could be clearing out the excess in our heads, homes and lives. Or, it might be digging through your archives and editing images. Scanning old film photos and organizing them.
I’m sharing this because I know I’m not the only one who feels this way from time to time. We all need to take a break, recharge our batteries, refresh our perspectives and reflect on what and how we are creating.
I’ve never been one to follow the trends. Why on earth do I want to be like everyone else, or do what everyone else is doing? I don’t. I never have. You shouldn’t either. Doing your own thing, following your own path all translate to your work.
Sometimes I spend too much time browsing online. It’s not just me, this I know is a fact. Usually, it’s because I am unable to focus or put my heart into anything much else. During all this browsing I look at what other photographers are doing. Good? Bad?
Seeing what others are doing is OK as long as we keep ourselves from the comparison game. What I’m seeing though has me really stepping back to figure out where I’m going and what I want to do with my own work. By paying attention to what others in our industry are doing, it can both help and hurt us. Maybe it’ll spur you on into a whole new direction. Perhaps you’ll try a new style or start to help others.
The other side of that though is that sometimes, it makes us feel like our work is not any different or not unique. Then you (I do) question why it is you do this. Again, this isn’t necessarily bad. Going back to figure out why we do what we do is something we should do from time to time. It changes as we learn more, change and grow.
During this scrolling social media, I have also noticed (this is nothing new for me) that more and more I feel like there isn’t much originality out there in the actual images I see. Many of us use the same editing software/apps, presets and techniques which, in my opinion, is creating a lot of work that looks like everyone else’s.
There are plenty of amazing places on this earth that result in plenty of beautiful images, but what’s different about them? They are beautiful images of beautiful places. This is what really pushes me to create work that is original.
I like to think of this all as growing pains. Here we are. We are in that place of what, where and how am I doing what I do? We have no idea at this moment why we do this. You know what? That’s OK. We don’t have to know right this minute.
We all need to learn to step back, take a break and let ourselves just be sometimes. To allow ourselves to mull over what changes we have made and want to make. To just breathe. Do we want to switch up what we are doing or where we are going with our work and/or our business?