My phone lights up. More likes. More followers. Good. I repeat this process more times than I’d like to admit. I get my fix every time another one comes in. I empty scroll throughout the better part of my days from the second I open my eyes to the minute I start flickering out for the night. It’s sick. Why do I care? What happened to creating work for myself? When did my creative outlet get the best of me?
Photography used to be a means of burning stress. I used to go out with my camera and not only shoot, but I’d document everything along the way. I’d come home with hundreds of images from one little outing at the beach knowing I hadn’t missed a detail. It was just my camera and I showing off our days together. After a while, I began doing it for a living. While I can admit being a photographer is fun, it’s hard when you turn your hobby into work. As we all know, it’s hard to keep work fun no matter what your work may entail. It can become tiring. It can become stressful. Once those things happen, it’s no longer something you enjoy but it’s more of a chore you know you just need to finish. It isn’t always this way. I find it comes and goes in waves but there are always tough times to keep you grounded through the exceptionally great times.
A few years ago, I joined Instagram. I used my feed to post food images, cute posts of my boyfriend, my cat, my cars among other things. It slowly morphed into a showcase for my professional work. I was posting my best images and the feedback that I received was so encouraging and supportive. That part hasn’t changed. What has changed is the way I produce my work. I got to a point where I was trying to post only my best content but this didn’t make me feel my best. I made efforts every morning to get out and get at least one good shot that I could post and get the likes for the day. Only one shot. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gone out and only come back to upload about ten images from my camera. Ten shutter counts. That’s nothing compared to the hundreds I’d come home with during my earlier years. I lost the feeling I’d initially loved and traded it for likes. What the fuck?
Recently, I’ve identified this issue and addressed it by taking a step back from my social media to see if I could rekindle my love for photography and reassess the way I share my images. I know this might seem very stupid to some of you but I believe its equally relatable to many people I know.
I started by taking the notifications off of my phone. I still get my calls and my messages but those are the only notifications I allow for the time being. I rarely check my phone since disabling most of notifications. It’s incredibly peaceful not to have notifications distracting me from daily life. It’s also nice not to be prompted to open the apps that I would waste endless hours “creeping” though after a notification would pop up. Now, let me clarify: I love seeing the work my fellow peers share. Instagram has connected me with some INCREDIBLE humans who support me and constantly push me to produce greater content. I’ve become friends with people through Instagram and for that, I couldn’t be happier. There are so many talented humans out there that I’ve grown to admire and respect; especially locally. That internet thing has it’s perks, I’ll admit!
For the next few weeks, I’ve decided it’s best that I don’t scroll endlessly. It’s best that I don’t try to create if my heart isn’t into it. It’s best if I just recharge and take a minute away. Like the ocean, these things come and go just like the tides; high and low. I intend to ride it out and see where the waves take me!