9 Aug 2015

The malaise of tedium, or photography boredom

I guess it just happens, at one point or another: one day, while you are cleaning the house, you move out the camera bag to dust the shelf where it had been laying, untouched, for longer than you had realized, and then you wonder, when was the last time I went out to the streets, as I used to do almost on a weekly basis, for a photography stroll? And you can't quite recall the exact date, for it has been months since then. In my case, I started counting and I realized they had already passed five months since the last time I took my camera out for a bit of unplanned fun.

Against all odds, GH3 + Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm
Prayer, GH3 + Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm
The length of the time struck me as a revelation, but what was even more shocking was the fact that I still didn't feel like going out again anytime soon. Not that I had many other interesting things happening in my life; I just didn't feel the itch or call to grab my camera and leave my room, as used to be my weekend routine for the previous two years. What had changed, then? Essentially, nothing big or determinant had happened during these last months, as my life went on normally and the rest of my routines were not affected at all, so after a careful consideration, I just assumed I had hit a wall in my photographic development, one we could call as lack of inspiration or, better still, disinterest.

The sky above, GH3 + Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm
Urban frame, GH3 + Lumix G X Vario 35-100mm
What used to give me joy and fulfillment had quietly faded from my list of interests, and, without noticing it, I had grown distant and reluctant to take my camera to go out and shoot. The diagnosis was clear, therefore what I had to find out now were the reasons that had brought me there, in order to be able to revert them, and move ahead. Because I wanted to feel the excitement, the thrill, the enjoyment of photography again, did I not?

Empty afternoon, GM1 + Panasonic Leica 15mm
The board, GH3 + Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm
Was it boredom of the place where I lived, that had became stale after all that time wandering around it? Was it, perhaps, something else, a rooted tedium that had been quietly creeping inside my body for unknown reasons? Gear disillusion, maybe? I imagine they were a few factors coming into play at once, all draining me from the energy I had felt before towards photography (and relocating it who knows where); but I didn't feel anxious or even worried, and I didn't want to force myself to do something I didn't feel like doing, so, in the end, I decided I would simply go ahead with my daily life, without paying too much attention to it, and that I would wait for the right opportunity to slowly get back in track.

Preparations for the festival I, GH3 + Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm
Preparations for the festival II, GH3 + Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm
And that opportunity came a month later, when another photowalk organized by the local photography group was held, and I decided it was about time to go out and let the camera do all the talking, once more. And so I did. Without much eagerness, truth be told, but I went nevertheless, and it was an enjoyable afternoon as these gatherings usually are. But what about my photographs? Well, the best I can say is that they lacked soul, they were boring frames most of the times, perfectly balanced and exposed, technically acceptable, but totally forgettable. Nothing to grab even my own attention for a second time.

Preparations for the festival III, GH3 + Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm
Preparations for the festival IV, GH3 + Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm
The camera, mind you, was as uninspired as I was, and this should come as no surprise, but it helped me put things into perspective and think about the matter from another perspective: what was driving me to go out to photograph before? For whatever that was, it needed to come back in order for me to feel the photography itch again. And no, it was not new gear. Neither a trip far away. After all, it was something much more simple: the joy of discovery, of exploration, of creation, was somehow gone, and nothing from outside would bring it back. The only way of clearing off my eyes to let them see things as fresh rather than old again was within me, and it implied two things: courage to refuse stagnation, actively seeking for change, and energy to push myself forward.

The birth of a fighter I, GM1 + Panasonic Leica 15mm
The birth of a fighter II, GM1 + Panasonic Leica 15mm
On that moment I decided that, whenever a fork in the road would appear ahead of me, I would chose the winding one, not the straight. For practice, and struggle, and consistency at work are the only way s to avoid paralyzation, which is the most lethal virus against creativity. It would take time, I knew, and my pictures would probably continue being empty for a while, but as long as I kept trying, things would start working again. That's what I told myself. And then there would be no more endless words. There would be only steps, and shutter clicks.

The birth of a fighter III, GM1 + Panasonic Leica 15mm
The birth of a fighter IV, GM1 + Panasonic Leica 15mm


  1. Another great collection of images. So glad you found your camera bag.

    1. Thanks once more, John! Not my best, out of training for too long, but working on that! ;)