I love photography. I love the idea of capturing a moment in time, an event, an abstract scene or just a snippet of life that would otherwise go unrecorded, only to be forgotten over time. I have no formal training, no gallery exhibitions, no commissions and not even a particularly large following on Flickr or any other social media.
However, this does not deter me. Like the vast majority of other amateur photographers, my efforts will never be recognised, but that does not stop me from trying to improve my work, to add meaning to my pictures and to get that long awaited recognition.
That was the case until six weeks ago when one of life’s indelible moments took away all desire, drive and enthusiasm that I have for my passionate hobby. I lost my mother to liver failure. An event like this will obviously have long term repercussions on many aspects of a person’s life but I was not expecting it to have such a profound effect on my photography. I haven’t taken a picture since.
I returned to my day job within a few days of the event. Any mourning and grief that I felt, although still very much with me, had subsided within a couple of weeks and after a very strong and healthy relationship with my mother, I felt that I had come to terms with the loss and managed well since the event. The surprise has been the effect on my creativity and passion; it is now absent.
This has led me to one conclusion: our creativity is directly affected by our mood and emotions. This realisation is all the more important for photographers making a living from their work and cannot afford this emotional “writer’s block.” Many articles are written about “the best equipment” or “essential skills and knowledge” that amateur photographers “must have.” Far less is written and equally understood about a healthy mind and attitude towards the craft.
Creativity needs to be nurtured. Likewise the mind needs to be fed, maintained and nourished like an athlete looking after his or her body. Psychologists understand that emotions do not necessarily affect our thoughts; it is our thoughts that drive our emotions. On that note, I say to the “vast majority” of amateur photographers: believe in yourself and believe in your work. Do not be disheartened by negative feedback; merely use it to motivate yourself and expand your creativity.
As for myself, I will take pictures again and I will overcome my ‘photographers block’ and even though my world feels a little bit smaller, my passion will come back larger than ever.
About the author: Ross Jukes is a 31 year old amateur photographer from Birmingham, England. Ross mainly shoots landscapes and urban photography in his native Birmingham though he plans to branch out into architectural & automotive photography in the future. Visit his Flickr page here.
Image credits: Photographs by Ross Jukes