Everybody needs a hobby and a pasttime, especially to take their mind off things during these trying times.
And if you are looking for something to help you with your mental health, you could do a lot worse than take up photography:
- It’s a creative endeavour – meaning you are forever learning new things.
- It’s accessible – you don’t even need a camera these days, most people just use their phones.
- It’s rewarding – if you take a picture that your particularly fond of, you’ll forever feel proud that you captured that moment.
And for me, most importantly, it’s a vast world with so much to learn. If you feel you’re not getting along with portraits, you can go out for a walk and try your hand at landscapes, street or wildlife.
As somebody who has worked as a professional photographer, you’d think the work side of it would get tiresome. And while the admin side of it can be a drag, the practical part of the job and the post production work is almost always a thrill.
That said, when the pandemic hit last year, I was recovering from a nasty gallbladder attack. And for the first few weeks of the first lockdown, I was in two minds as to whether I wanted to pick up a camera in a professional capacity again.
Looking back, this was out of character for me and with hindsight, it was clear that I was burnt out – exhausted even. The combination of having a fulltime job, two kids, working every weekend and having that health scare with my gallstones, made me realise my work/life balance was completely off, and that I needed to slow down.
More than just a profession…
So when the lockdown kicked in, I found myself picking up my old X-Pro 1 and taking photos of subjects that were personal to me – my family, our cat, flowers growing outside in the garden, every day surroundings.
Once again, photography became an interest and not just a profession. It was incredibly liberating.
Lockdown effectively saved my personal interest in photography and soon after it was lifted, I was back photographing weddings, events and portraits, with a renewed and refreshed enthusiasm – albeit in a somewhat socially distanced manner.
And once this current lockdown is lifted and all is deemed safe again, I’ll be out there again.
But until then, I will continue to take photos, that tell my story, that interest me and entertain me – that’s why I got into photography. And where I can, I plan to pass on my enthuasiam for the subjects I photograph, along with my knowledge of the medium of photography itself. Over the next few weeks, I plan to post a few guides and tips, so keep an eye out for those.
So yeah, as I was saying, if you need something worth while to do during the next few weeks, pick up a camera, any camera (your phone or even an old 35mm film camera you may have lying around) and start documenting the things around you.