Photographic apathy – it can happen to the best of us!
This demotivating condition can best be described as a state of indifference; the suppression of emotions such as concern, excitement, motivation or passion over our craft. For some, the onset of a long dreary winter with minimal activity can magnify our feelings of apathy – affecting not only our mood, but our creativity. For others, photographic apathy may be the result of unfulfilled creative aspirations.
In my most recent blog article (sorry, would have posted directly to the Nikonians blog, but my Silver membership does not allow this), I attempt to address this condition, while offering up numerous suggestions on how we might help overcome these feelings: http://danielstainer.wordpress.com/
Here are but a few suggestions:
* Start a photography project: find a subject that is close to your heart, and tell a story. * Celebrate the mundane: unique image opportunities are everywhere, even in your own backyard. * Get your images printed and matted: photos become much more real when you can hold and hang them. * Imitate your kids: don’t be so serious. Approach your photography with child-like wonder and curiosity. * Stop comparing yourself to others: no good can come out of these comparisons. Cast away all envy!
I certainly welcome any additional thoughts on the matter. I don’t pretend to have all the answers, but thought it important enough to at least start some constructive dialogue – as I’m sure many of us have or will experience some form of creative apathy at some point.
An interesting read and one that I hope I can come back to again in the future. I sit here between two stools, not as old or as interesting as your veteran, not as young and active as you. My father was active in WWII though his mind has lost all of its edge and most of his memories now. He had no climatic moments just blowing up waste explosives in Egypt, stripping down expired shells removing the percussion caps then blowing them up in the desert along with other armaments and doubtful explosives. Also clearing ordinance from machines and the like before shipment, or recovery. He is now over 200 miles away and I cannot currently get to see him until I have an operation or two. But your theme was apathy, photographic apathy, though it can cut across all aspects of life, if other issues will let it in. I have so many idea projects, none of which are near to conclusion and few are even in the starting gate. Yes I have scanned most of 40 years worth of slides and yes I have started on the colour negatives - and found out they are in better condition and yield better scans than many of the slides. I assembled some of the kit for close up photography -well to be honest I had almost all of it from over 30 years back and now have a D7000 with which to de-mothball it, yet somehow it remains close to the mothballs. Maybe I can get something out of the starting gate up and running free. With a first grandchild hopefully (don't ask about potential issues this is the fourth pregnancy) due in April/May and a hoped for op to restore my mobility in late February, I know I must stop planning and start doing. It really does not matter what you do as long as you get something moving, hopefully within one's reach but still enough to stretch the ability and satisfy the need for achievement. Nothing succeeds like success, even small successes count. I'll bookmark your blog if you do not mind. Richard
>But, if someone is apathetic, it seems almost by definition >that the person won't be motivated to do anything about it. >Isn't that what apathy means?
Maybe apathy is not the ideal word but I fully understand the points that were made about how we all at some time lack the motivation to express ourselves through photography and there are things we can do to help us find the motivation again.
Dan's posting hit me where I am right now. I'm sure I'll find at least one thing in his list of suggestions that will help rekindle my motivation.
Well Randy, you do bring up a valid point - which is that they may be less likely to do something about it, but I suppose it all depends on how severe it is and whether or not they're open to change.
In some cases, just reading about it and acknowledging it within yourself may be enough to provide "just enough" spark to get the fire going again. It doesn't take much blowing to turn smoke and embers into a full-blown blaze.
I'd be lying if I didn't tell you that I'm feeling somewhat apathetic as of late - and in some ways I'm taking my own advice by writing about it - as I can only imagine that others may share similar feelings from time to time (especially during winter months).
But like anything else, apathy is not a black and white issue, but is 18% gray (sorry, bad joke). So long as you’re open to discussing your own feelings of apathy (and are honest with yourself), then maybe there’s hope that one of my suggestion will in fact make a difference. Thank you for your comment.
>...But like anything else, apathy is not a black and white issue, >but is 18% gray (sorry, bad joke)...
I see your point, Dan, and like your joke! One thing I didn't see on your list that can motivate me to pick up my camera is seeing the photos of others. Whenever I read a photography magazine, it makes me want to pick up my camera and shoot. And, it doesn't have to be a photography magazine. Any magazine with good photos, and even photos of other Nikonians I see on the website make me want to take my own photos. If I go to a gallery that displays photos, it makes me want to take my own photos.
Maybe I'm not the apathetic photographer you're talking about though. I'm just an amateur hobbyist, but I almost always have a camera with me and can never go more than a few days without taking at least a few photos. Maybe if it was my job, or I was trying to make some money selling my photos, I'd run into some burn-out and apathy.
Great advices... I did buy, once, a pinhole camera kit (cardboard) with ten sheets of inversible paper and a small dose of revelator and fixator (even with a small red filter sheet)... Even if you're in a potato couch syndrome, it goes with the slow movements...
Who hasn't been here before? Thanks for the reminder, Dan!
Cheers and all the best in the new year!
When I loose interest in photography, I use photography to record my other interests/hobbies, looking for a new way to present "the same old thing." Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. This method brought me into macro photography.
Hmmm.. I'm finding it difficult to separate "stop comparing yourself to others" and 'look at others work for inspiration"
In my years of writing, during these times we called it 'losing our muse'. I think there is a point in all artistic endeavours where you have a lull in creativity. Love the imitate your kids suggestion, excellent way to put it.
Since I am still in the learning stage-and never hope to leave it-I try and think of subjects to shoot out of my comfort range-a junkyard macro project,taking photos from a kayak, wharehouse districts in cities, rugby action shots, anything to get me out to explore. Pretend that this is you last day that you will have your eyesite-What will you miss most? Go find it. What is so beautiful about digital format is that you can get bold and take that chance of having less than perfect shots-you are not paying lab fees!
"Pretend that this is your last day that you will have your eyesight."
Sort of like pretending what you'd do if you only had one day to live. While I'd hope that none of us would ever lose our vision, your point is an excellent one Lisa - and it reminds us never to take anything for granted.
In a nutshell - both our passion for photography and our vision are a gift. Nicely stated!
(QUOTE) Hmmm...I'm finding it difficult to separate "stop comparing yourself to others" and 'look at others work for inspiration"
Great point Tash! I think it's human nature to compare - even when we tell ourselves that we're only in competition with ourselves. That being said, I have often drawn much inspiration from other forms of art - from paintings to poetry.
Not to sound too Zen like, but if we remove our ego from the equation, we can learn a lot from looking at other photos (and art). Of course, this is easier said than done.
BTW, your description of "losing our muse" is right on. Thanks for commenting!
Good observation and one I get close to in my "off season". As primarily a sports (and even more so....hockey) photographer, I get apathetic until that next great shot. When I nail that puck flying over the goalies shoulder, or get that guy horizontal in mid air it gets me smiling again. In this craft almost every shot is new and different, even if only slightly. It's that "next great shot" that gets the blood pumping and renews the spirit.
I am so apathetic about photography that I still haven't tried out the D5100 I bought back in November, it's just sitting on a shelf in my living room! I am off to Belgium next month for a few days so perhaps by then I'll feel inspired enough to take it with me.