Last week was a tough one. As many of you already know, I’ve just finished a three week stint of flying solo at home whilst my husband worked away and it always takes a little while for our routine to settle back to normal, for the exhaustion (for both of us) to subside. Last week was however a particularly hard adjustment. My husband missed his flight from L.A. and arrived back much later than planned on Mothering Sunday. His first meeting in London was at 10am the next morning, so after barely 12 hours in the house he was gone again until the following evening. My eldest son was sick with a virus, he’d been running a temperature through the night, and ended up having three days off school. We juggled this between us through the week, I had a photoshoot on Tuesday at our house, and a day of appointments and meetings in London on Wednesday. The trains were cancelled due to flooding and I ended up in a town 30 miles from home, sharing a taxi with complete strangers and home many hours later than planned.
Thursday was a catch up day, I ploughed through loads of framing work and thankfully Oscar was back at school and well again, but Max was sick at the childminder’s and had to be picked up early. This “tale of woe” is probably very familiar to many of you with small children. It’s just life isn’t it? It’s how it goes, it’s fine, you cope, you crack on, you hope to catch a break soon. We don’t have any family nearby to help pick up the pieces for us, but we always manage one way or another. The reason I’m telling you is that all of this has somewhat taken it’s toll on my creativity. Not surprisingly really, it’s hard to find the time to be creative and set up beautiful still lives, or snap delicious food preparation, or get out with the DSLR. You just find yourself doing what’s necessary, both in life and in photography.
We all have times children or no children, when life needs to come first. You’ve just got to prioritise, photograph what’s got to be photographed, do the work that’s got to be done. This however eventually starts to niggle at me. I get very frustrated at my lack of creativity and I start to dislike my images. I have to some days literally say to myself “step away from the delete button” as I gaze at my Instagram gallery with an overly critical eye. Losing the photo mojo, or the “phojo” as I’ve seen it called, is something I come across all the time in people’s captions whilst scrolling Instagram. None of us can keep up the constantly high standard of imagery that we challenge ourselves to produce. So how do we get the mojo back? Get the ball rolling and start being excited by creating images again?
Personally every time this happens to me, I realise the thing that really floats my photography boat is getting back to nature. Getting outside, with my DSLR and shooting the elements. It seems to awaken my senses and I start thinking and feeling like a photographer again, running about like an excited child playing with the light, lying on the ground to get the angle right, I just have so much fun with it! On Friday morning we woke up to a thick blanket of fog, and there for the first time in a long time, was that “EEK” feeling. I got down to the park for 8am with Max, but I needn’t have rushed, the fog was going no where! To be honest it wasn’t my favourite kind of fog, it was a real “pea souper” as we say. If I’m being picky, I prefer that moment when the sun is about to burn the fog away, and the light rays start to filter through. But fog is still fog, and it hides lamp posts, cars, pylons, bins and benches, and of course the greenness of the grass! Hooray! As I’ve said before, one of Nature’s finest filters.
We didn’t stay out for long, fifteen minutes maybe, it only a degree above freezing and Max is tired on Fridays after three days in childcare (but thankfully he wasn’t sick any more). I soon bundled him up and carried him back to the car, and took him home for warm milk and a story. It may have been brief, but this spell of excitement reminded me how good it feels to be passionate about photography, to get the creative juices flowing. The fact that I only took a couple of shots I want to use is ok, I felt like I got to flex my photography muscles, working quickly and efficiently to think through a scene, how to compose the shot, get the settings right, thinking about and reacting to my surroundings. This is definitely what I love most about photography.
My advise would be if you too are struggling with time, energy, and creativity, to try and pinpoint the thing that floats your photograph boat. Is it people and portraits, low light, golden hour light, food, flowers, a new city to explore? Find the thing that awakens your senses and go and shoot it! I am craving blue skies, fields, my children, and flowers (not in a jug or beheaded on a board, but a field full of them) at the moment. I’m very much hoping to get back to Nature, and very soon.
I’d love to hear from you, have you ever lost your mojo? What is the thing that you really love to photograph the most?
Thanks for reading,
PS since I started writing this on Friday, we all had a tummy bug over the weekend!! Haha, we are definitely going to get that break now though.. 😉