How to Get Over Creative Depression

August 03, 2022  •  Leave a Comment

To Photograph or Not to Photograph?

Two years, three months, and 3 days after the announcement that the entire world was going on pause, I find myself facing a dilemma: To photograph, or not to photograph?

With the world still facing COVID variants, wars in distant places that affect the cost of living at home, and feeling out of place after hanging up my camera on shooting professionally, I felt it was time for a change.

For two years after leaving New York City, I explored nature, learned woodworking, and took on other projects outside of photography. Yet my soul was yearning for the camera.

Creative Depression

Over the course of two years, I gradually sold off most of my camera gear piece by piece out of the sheer fact that I was not using it, and I found myself selling things to fund other projects. I decided to keep one camera and one lens. After all, why do you need more than one camera and one lens to make a great photograph?

My camera of choice was my Nikon D750 with a 35mm 1.8 Nikkor lens. Prior to my decision to sell most of my gear minus this camera and lens, I found myself shooting most of my work with this very simple yet powerful combination.

I made personal photographs with this combination, but something was still missing. Who or what am I making photographs for? I no longer photograph for large companies or others, so what was the point?

My camera sat and collected dust for a long while, and I gave up on sharing anything because nothing seemed exciting to photograph again. I found myself in creative depression.

Finding My Way Again

Welcome to Colombia

In 2021, life took a different turn when I met someone who stole my heart. We fell in love head over heels and found ourselves planning a future together.

In 2022, I proposed to her and she said "YES!"

There was just one catch. We were to get married in Colombia so that we could involve her family who could not come to the United States.

I carefully packed my bags including my Nikon camera and traveled over eighteen hours to Colombia without understanding a lick of Spanish. At first, it was an uphill battle just to function daily, but just like learning how to photograph, I quickly picked up the basics of speaking Spanish.

The next step was to figure out how to get married in a foreign country that I had no understanding of. I found myself reading on the internet for many days, and the local Notaries were notorious for giving us a tiny bit of information every time that we visited.

Finally, we had put all of the details together after six visits to the Notaries, and I found myself subconsciously documenting the journey on my camera again.

One lazy afternoon I picked up the camera to make a photograph of our dog, and it hit me. I am making photographs for my family's future. What other reason do I need?

I packed away my Nikon, bought a Sony RX100 to fit in my pocket, and simply started to document daily life again. I find that the photos that I capture are sketches to remember a moment in time for my family's future.

Photography never was for anyone else but me in all of the years that I have explored it. I had to work for the highest levels of status in the photographic industry in order to realize that all along photography was simply about what my Grandma taught me at age 10: To have fun and to make memories.

A Gift for Anyone Who Suffers Creative Depression Too

If you have found yourself in creative depression as I did, here are five helpful tips to jumpstart your photography again:

  1. Try a change of scenery in a different city/state/country
  2. Try a different camera to jog your shooting habits
  3. Plan a road trip simply to drive with your camera with no destination in mind
  4. If you do not have much time, try photographing your daily routine to see what your day looks like in photos

How to Get Inspired

If you find yourself stuck with your photography inspirations, please feel free to write me directly to share your story with me. I love to hear from others and help to inspire!

If you are interested in receiving a personal plan for changing your photography or your life, please do not hesitate to reach out on Fiver also for photography classes or life coaching sessions with me.

Thank you for reading and for your support as always, and as my Grandma always told me: Always be shooting!


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