We all sometimes need a break from what we do. Even though it's our passion, we need time off.
But how do you stop, take a break and maybe think about what direction to go next - when the illusion of social media is “While you stop, the world is moving forward and everyone is getting better and creating more and more while you are simply not! Lazy fuck!" How do you pause then?
These days I feel like opening Instagram (way too many times a day, not gonna lie) is a certain way for me to feel like a lazy fuck for not shooting constantly and having tons of images to share every day.
I won't even pretend it doesn't make me go through my archives and dig up images I haven't shared yet or (worse case) go shoot just for sakes of having shit to throw into the never-ending tireless flow of content. Which is not right, but how do I justify to myself, that not shooting from time to time is fine?
First of all, the fact that these times force us to create and publish work stupidly fast is (at least for me) a straight way to burning out. I can't create (hopefully) good work, think and doubt every image I put online and still keep up with everyone else.
What's important to remember is that the seducing numbers on social media are not by any means a measure of quality - whatever that means. They are flattering, when they keep counting, but whenever there are numbers, there's a chance of comparison. And comparing yourself to someone else in a sketchy artsy field such as photography is not a good idea.
The photographers we love and admire from the past decades did not create their impressive bodies of work overnight and more importantly they didn't do it to quench the short term desire for likes. They worked sometimes without seeing their own images for a year before editing them - not talking about seeing other photographer's work. And yet their work is timeless.
To put it shortly - I feel like the reward of photographing got externalised and finding a way to bring the simple joy back to myself is hard. And social media is definitely not helping in this regard. I don’t want to be the radical one to delete my social accounts to achieve that, so I’m trying to find a compromise. And to me it's probably to try being more selfish about my work. By selfish I mean focusing on how I feel at the moment about shooting. Do I want to shoot? Do I need a break? Do I have anything worth showing? Answering these kind of questions to myself honestly without having the audience in mind is the key.
The time spent not shooting or not creating is just as valuable. For me it creates desire to go out and shoot again. It makes me reflect on what the hell am I doing with my life in general. At the end of the day, we should be creating for ourselves first and then for the audience. In reverse the reward and satisfaction will always be fleeting.