Photo by Ray Potes
I used to think about “wonderment”, like maybe wonderful and beautiful things is what I was looking for to photograph. Or how can I make a certain scene or story wonderful and beautiful with the artistry of my photography or something egocentric like that. But as I get older, the idea of what motors my photography has changed.
I had friends that warned, “Your energy dropping is the biggest thing you’ll notice when you hit 40.” And while they are kind of right, they didn’t mention that your energy management naturally then evolves and thus your energy becomes more stabilized. You purposely want to eat better, you purposely want to walk or ride a bike for extra exercise vs sit in traffic and look for parking. You purposely don’t put yourself in energy draining scenarios.
Getting sidetracked. As you get older you evolve. Maybe you used to lay in gutters and shoot photos of your friends skateboarding. Maybe you traveled a lot and shot more back in the day. But you as a person are always changing and evolving and it is natural for your photos to change and evolve as well. I am not talking about changing up your aesthetic and trying ridiculous things to up your creativity levels. Unless you want to, that’s fine.
What I am getting at is that if your interests have changed while your photography has stayed the same then usually comes a phase of burnout. And I think to combat this burnout is to check your curiosity levels.
I have seen photographers go from 50 rolls a week straight to Netflix all day and being over it. Some say the driving force is energy levels, I say it is curiosity levels.
While at one point it was curious for me to see what someone can do a skateboard, today I am curious to see where a squirrel is hiding his nuts. (My sister is finding walnuts buried in her house plants on her balcony.)
I can admit though that it is possible to evolve out of photography. I have had photographer friends take up drawing or music or ceramics or screenprinting and finding other creative outlets that are at this point in their life more proper for them. And that is totally all good.
But this is a message to those photographers on the edge of feeling burnt. What are you curious about these days? What interests do you now have and how can you photograph it? Your environment has no doubt changed, what is this part of your story about? You need to share it because we need to see it.