I’ve always been a photographer. Since I was a kid when my parents bought me my first camera for Christmas. They used to complain that I always took pictures that had no people in them. I was a shy kid and in many ways I am still a shy adult. The camera gave me a way to interact with the world and with people from a safe distance.
Through my teen years the camera became a shield and a way to express myself. Working quietly and alone in the darkroom at school was a good way to escape the bullying. Photography like swimming was something that I could do in my own company.
When Photography became my work it changed from a passion to something I did for money and a lot of the joy went out of it. I like many new artists discovered that I didn’t know as much as I thought and I had some very big disasters. I was undeterred but also became a little gun shy.
Later my dream job came along and couldn’t believe it. My enthusiasm was now tempered by maturity, a healthy understanding of my own limits and a much more professional outlook and approach to my work. I started to find the joy in it again.
It was also around this time in London that I became desperately unhappy and started to suffer from depression more deeply than at any time before. I was spending so much time taking pictures for work that I was too exhausted to pick up the camera on my time off and slowly but surely photography once again became a job rather than a passion. I’d collapse in to bed at the end of the day without even thinking about taking pictures for my own enjoyment.
Inspiration is a strange thing. It can come at any time and disappear just as quickly. I tried on many occasions to rediscover my self through my camera in London. I have always found that going for a walk with the camera cheers me up but stress kills creativity dead in it’s tracks. Pressures at work and home, loneliness and homesickness meant that my head wasn’t in a creative place for a long time.
The truth is that while the last 5 or so years have been a wonderful journey for my knowledge and experience as a photographer they have also been hellishly difficult for me personally and emotionally and my camera has sadly come to represent that awful time.
I’m a creative by nature and I expect I will find my joy in it again but it’s not something I can force.