Burnout is the total tragedy of an overwhelming, distressing and depressing range of draining emotions that leave you feeling powerless. I believe it comes in different levels ranging from a stubbed toe to a broken leg or worse, a broken spirit. I say this as I in no way want to make light of burnout. I experienced it once in such an overwhelming way that I wanted to give up photography, completely. One day I might have the courage to talk about that some more.
I want to talk about the smaller moments I recognise now, where exhaustion, either physical or emotional, arrive and then need to recognised quickly so that I can diminish and then squash them. They need to be dealt with and diffused, softened, never ignored. So here’s what I do…
I stop charging the wall of no inspiration. I put my camera down and I start looking around more. I concentrate on light and possible compositions in order to refresh my viewpoint and train my eye from scratch again. I step away from looking at other photographers work that would normally inspire me. I turn the volume down on instagram and twitter and facebook, and escape.
Then I start to pay attention to the smaller, simpler, everyday moments that we all have. They might be with pets, with plants, friends or family. I pay attention to light, composition, and emotion and then allow my curiosity to run and explore.
And this is how I get past the empty, valueless, talentless feelings I endure from time to time. I turn off all the noise that surrounds us. Sometimes I pick my skateboard up. I almost always put my camera down. I start looking, longing to see. This always helps me reboot. I find beauty afresh in everyday, mundane moments. I smile at people and find wonder in rain and sunshine, reflection and shadow. I use my phone’s camera to document little things that spark my curiosity. I fall in love with making images all over again, I fall in love with the magic of light, and then I pick my camera up again… (All images made and edited on an iPhone 6s Plus.)
All images made and edited on iPhone 6s Plus.