Friday, 6 December 2013

As the year comes to a close, I had some thoughts I wanted to share. Sometime around a year ago, I found I was losing my energy to push myself forward with my work. When working as a freelance photographer your business takes up all your time - your evenings, weekends, even holidays are an opportunity to get some great photos, from emailing to blogging to retouching, it is never off your mind, but that's because you love it and couldn't imagine even thinking about anything else. You do not clock in and out because when you're not doing paid work, you're finding paid work and that client could find you through a shot of coffee you took on Instagram, so you try to never miss an opportunity for your art.

It was around this time that I stopped caring to come up with mood boards, to email magazines about submitting my shoots. Sure none of that stuff pays - I was still doing my paid client work no problem but to push yourself forward you need to be doing new things all the time. It's not just about only taking paid jobs because you feel as though you are at that stage of your career where you're only willing to do paid work, so many of the important things you do and the time you put in is not paid, but all those things just merge into each other because it's your passion and because it is a means to an end - setting up portfolio shoots, building your profile, building relationships with better model agents/magazines, getting an agent. It's all because you want to, not because you have to.

So I gave up and gave myself a break, I worked for my normal clients through the winter and allowed myself time for my passion to return on its own. After all I had been putting pressure on myself and causing stress, for which I wrote about it in a blog entry entitled 'Searching for Contentment'.

The problem was that it didn't, I found more and more reasons to put off doing the things I felt I should be.  When my inspiration didn't return I had to learnt to be ok with it. Wondering when it would return, but trying to relax and not always seeing my life as a ticking clock. Keeping myself busy as always but instead of emailing make up artists and fashion magazines, I was buying food and cooking recipes, visiting places and documenting my time. 
And it was during this period I realised just how much more I enjoyed this way of being. For the first time in my life my way of thinking had changed and I was doing things for me and for my love, not to impress the rest of the world or be in competition with other people that I didn't know. What I slowly discovered in that time was that I didn't love fashion anymore and I wanted to be a food photographer, it felt less competitive and stressful, something I was doing for myself. I didn't need to impress anyone. I learnt how to be grateful for everything I had achieved so far, rather than concentrating on what I hadn't done and how there are no boxes to tick. I do not have to feel like 'I should' be doing something, I just have to enjoy my life and everything I do.

More recently I have been revamping the food & lifestyle section of my website, shooting for some restaurants and finishing my cook book. With the new year brings happy new opportunities and positive feelings, I feel a sense of relief knowing that I can take my time with things. I will be exploring my options as a food and lifestyle photographer, not ruling out fashion projects if they interest me but seeing where this new direction takes me. I am very excited and next year I intend to do what I love, take photos, build on this new avenue in my life, travel, cook, carry on with yoga & meditation and have lots of great experiences.