There are times, only occasionally, when I become a tad obsessed with photography. I think about the project that I am working on, a blog post that I need to write, an email that I need to answer for a price quote, an idea for a series of images in the Australian bush that I would love to start. Sometimes, the thoughts bubble up, over, round, and round. I get lost in these thoughts, and feel overwhelmed with this noise.
My best work is never captured when I am this frantic. It is captured spontaneously, and in the moment. These thoughts, and the over thinking of ideas, are not a healthy sign. I know I need to pull back. I know I need to put the camera away for a little while, and refocus my thoughts. I know I need a distraction or two to keep the creativity for my photography fresh and new. If I don’t step back, well eventually I will look at my work with an overly critical eye and want to delete all the images from my memory card.
I think as artists we are completely drawn to being creative, but we need to create balance. An élite athlete does not only train in one way. They cross train, and have a varied fitness program. As artists, we don’t have the luxury of a coach or team to suggest a break in our routine. To change the scenery, and leave the camera behind. We need to look for these signals ourselves, and know when the time is right for a variation in our photography program.
Recently, I sat enjoying my first cup of coffee on an early Sunday morning. Next to me, sat my daughter who was colouring. She has a wooden box of “Faber Castell” coloured pencils that she received for her birthday a few years ago. She loves to colour, and it is her way to be creative. As I sat watching her, I thought about how it is a joy we share. I loved it as a child as well. I spent many hours colouring, and then I pondered why I had stopped. At what point did I push the pencils aside. I can’t remember why or when but realized I should start again. I asked my daughter if I could use one of the pages in her colouring books, and she agreed. I sat in the morning light, selected the picture, and picked up a yellow pencil. I coloured until the picture was complete, until there was no white left on the page. I chatted with my daughter but mostly the only sound was of the pencil on the page. It was peaceful.
As we happily coloured, my family woke and sleepily wandered into the kitchen. They were amused to see me colouring and not editing on the computer. They smiled, and said my drawing was pretty. In that moment, I knew I had rekindled a love that was once important to me. I knew I had a variation for my photography program, one that allowed me to be creative but was a complete escape from my camera. One that rejuvenate the creativity for my photography, and one I look forward to each Sunday morning.