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Thursday, April 4, 2013

Photography, Stress and Apathy - What to do about it?

Being a photographer is not all fun and games. Sometimes it can be downright stressful. If you are in a career path and that end-goal is to make money; photography can be an instigator of stress: the strive for perfection; to be noticed by magazines, to be noticed by the editors, to make enough money to make ends meet. All of this can provide stress and even worse: make you spiral into apathy.

So what happens when the sight of your camera makes you want to run the other direction?

First of all, you need to figure out what it is that is causing your apathy towards what you used to love to do. Is it outside stress - is someone making you stressful to the point where you are rethinking your career? Is it that you're comparing yourself to other photographers and thinking that your work doesn't measure up to theirs? Is it that you're feeling burnt out and have absolutely no inspiration - that you feel your photography is the "same-old thing day in and day out"?

Sometimes you just have to take a break from whatever photography that you're doing and go out and photograph something else entirely different to regain a positive frame of mind. If you're in portraiture, go out and play with landscapes for a while or go take some street photography. If you're in landscape photography, try shooting some wildlife or astrophotography. The old saying is that "variety is the spice of life." It does work. Apathy shouldn't be allowed to make it so that you decide to never pick up your camera ever again. Sometimes, you just have to get out there and do something with your camera to fan the spark of creativity.

Being apathetic to the point of giving up your career is a sign of depression and that's the difference between doldrums where you can actually pick up your camera and be inspired by doing something else, versus needing professional help and counselling to get back to an even emotional keel. Depression is a wicked spiral that digs you in deeper and you have to seek help before it pulls you in too deep to get out.

Being a professional photographer is probably one of the most fulfilling things in life that you could be do. You reach the emotional and spiritual side of people with imagery and seeing a person's face light up when they see your photographs is probably one of the best feelings in the world. There is no room for apathy or depression to take that creativity out of this world. Pick up your camera, take a walk with it and photograph whatever comes to mind, even if it isn't a subject you've ever done before. And if you feel that you may have depression, seek professional help for it. There's always a way out - you just have to want it.

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