It happens to all artists, at some point, a block. Like a toggle switch just flipped in our brain and suddenly we realize that weeks or even months have passed and nothing has been created.
In my case, a series of family emergencies, over a period of two years, like rafting down a river and not noticing the drop off until it’s right there and you can’t paddle to safety. Initially it was just taking on the role of part time caregiver for aging parents. Then this spring the crisis hit closer to home, and suddenly the reality that after 34 years, “until death we do part” might be a real thing. I may only have a couple of years or maybe even months left with my biggest fan. The man who encouraged me to take my photography out of the house and into more public forums.
So, what do we do about that? Those of us who have a regular day job and photography for us has always been that creative outlet to unwind and disconnect from the daily stresses, what do we do to get that back? I suppose the first step is to recognize that for a time, we have lost our joy. If the brain has hunkered down to survival mode, prioritizing the things that need to be done to complete day to day living, sometimes the creative process suffers.
Once we realize we’ve lost something, we decide we want it back. Pick up the camera. Go outside, walk the garden, photograph what we see. Go downtown, walk the usual paths, photograph what we see. Pull out the old books, look up some of those old skill builders we used to do when we were learning our craft. Sit down with the computer and start cleaning out photo stock. No, it’s probably not going to be our best work, but artists, just like athletes, need that muscle memory.
If we put the camera down, and walk away, then we’ve given up. Part of our life is accepting and overcoming challenges. Yes, we do feel overwhelmed at times. If we are true to ourselves, we will recognize when we’ve lost our joy, and then work to get it back.