I shoot photos a lot. From work to my personal photography, a camera is almost always in my hand. But one thing I never though would happen is feeling over-saturated with making photographs.
I dedicated my life to this medium, I received a degree in it, I’ve been doing this for almost ten years, and I’m always trying to learn more and improve my work. But recently, I haven’t wanted to go out and shoot photos for myself. My cameras sit on my desk waiting to be used, but they’re simply unattended.
I don’t blame my job for this feeling. I’m shooting hundreds of images every day for stories for my newspaper, and I’m grateful to have this job where I can use my skills to their fullest extent and expand upon them every day. Even if I didn’t have this job, I think I still would have reached this feeling with my personal work.
I need a break.
Quite honestly, making my first zine has helped me tremendously. I’m working with other peoples’ photographs instead of my own and I still get to provide some sort of finished product at the end of it. I’ve found some incredible photographers through this project. Making zines and books really is just a hobby to me, as I don’t plan on making money off of it and it’s something of a therapy to edit other people’s work into a book format.
After I ordered over 700 prints of my recent work, the photographs that don’t have a home in any projects yet, I started to feel overwhelmed. I haven’t even looked through them beyond organizing them into subject matter. They’re sitting in a box on my desk with my unattended 35mm film camera on top of that box.
Recently, I haven’t been shooting for myself much at all. I might grab a photo or two here and there, but it usually ends up being maybe one photo a week, unlike over the summer and during my final semester where I was making ten to twenty photos a week. Granted, I was on road trips this summer and had much easier access to developing film than I do now.
I think that taking it easy with my work and just sitting on those 700-plus photographs for a while will help me get over this. I’ll still be making photographs constantly for work, but I don’t see a reason for me to make images for myself lately.
I still have a growing list of things and places I want to photograph, but I’m letting those simmer, especially since I’m low on film for the first time in over a year. I still plan on driving out to towns in central Illinois just to photograph the living hell out of them, maybe make a series or two out of each, but I can’t get myself to do it lately.
This break from actively making photographs for myself is important for me to re-gain sanity and lower my stress. Photography is supposed to be a therapy to me, something I’m comfortable with and always lowers my stress, so to keep it that way, that means I need to set the film camera down for a bit and just work on my job’s photography.