Where is that escape key?
Have you ever been so focused on a task or job so hard that you forget the details, or try and solve a problem for so long that it becomes impossible? then take a break and all of a sudden you solve it almost instantly? Being a task orientated and a technically minded person I often get caught up in this trap which is best described as an infinite loop.
A concept that computer programmers are most familiar with is the infinite loop which simply put means that its a piece of code that cannot resolve the task,question, or problem and keeps looping because it is always trying to resolve it. Our brains do much the same thing I've noticed, when engaged in a task for such a long period of time we can become trapped in an infinite loop. If its a problem we are trying to solve, often the best solution is to take a break and try again a little later only to solve the problem with a fresh perspective. Coincidentally programmers call this "escaping" a method in which stop the loop to allow them to reevaluate a piece of code.
So how does this relate at all to photography? On my trip back to Tasmania in September I was starting to feel like my photography was becoming more like a production line more than an art form. Trapped in this perpetual cycle of social media just to wander out, take photo, post-production, post to socials, and repeat. So caught up in this loop I stopped thinking about the details, I stopped caring about my photos, I thinking about my locations and stopped preparations.
We have all made the mistake on the odd occasion of forgetting to charge our batteries, or packing a key element into our packs; however on this day it really became evident to me that where I was on my photographic journey was far from where I was meant to be. I had become lost. Not only had I forgotten to charge my battery, but I had forgotten to charge all three of them, I had forgotten to pack my primary SD card with Magic Lantern on it for the Canon 6D, I even failed to charge the battery on my controller for the DJI Mavic Pro. What I did have was single battery with 1 bar left on it, so this would have to make do.
After my five minutes of photography was up I was left standing there with a bunch of useless photography gear, and a feeling of stupidity because I hadn't done all my check, or even any of them as it turns out. It was fast becoming evident that I really didn't care about what I was doing, what this moment did provide was that essential "escape" that I needed. It was time to exit my infinite loop and take a break.
Here I am some four months later and I can count on one hand how many times I have picked up the camera or had the desire to. Slowly but surely though that passion is coming back but with a fresh perspective, and with far less capital invested in social media has to with photography.
My new sentiment is if you want to share your photography, print it, then give it away. Effectively that is what you doing on social media anyway, so why not at least print it and give it to a friend or family member so they can really enjoy it rather than focusing on sharing your art in the name of getting a social media following and have some hardly appreciate it for less than .5 of a second... hours and hours of work deserve more than a double thumb tap and up swipe, it deserves to be shared and appreciated.
On a final note, yes I do see the irony in my sentiment as this will get shared on my social media account but don't worry I am printing way more of my work than I am sharing to social networks.