The first Sony Alpha photo I have (25/08/09)
My camera's lifeless battery has not been charged for 9 days.
My starburst filter is dusty and forgotten.
My polaroid filter is...actually, I don't even know where it is.
A few weeks ago a member of the Sony Dynax Forum sent me a message asking me if I was ok as I hadn't been seen on the Sony DSLR forum for months. (I replied with the age old "I've been busy" excuse; "of course, we understand, come and go as freely as time allows you")
Once upon a time I lived to take photographs. My DSLR was taken everywhere and I got an unparallelled joy from photographing everything around me...buildings, leaves, flowers, birds, people, my possessions. I'd wish the day away so I could sit in front of my laptop the same evening and look through my photographs. The photos would all be cropped and straightened, rearranged and sorted into folders and, if they made the final cut, uploaded.. If I took a photograph I really liked or was secretly proud of, then my day was complete and had been worthwhile, whatever else had transpired.
My love of travelling and love of photographing have always been interconnected. A little under three months ago I went to Iceland. I really liked Iceland, and it is very beautiful in its own unique way, but the photographs I took failed to stir me. People have asked me "where are you Iceland photographs?" and I reply, half honestly, that I've been busy and haven't had a chance to sort through them yet. I went to Iceland weeks and weeks ago. Of course I've had time to upload them if I really wanted to. And I think that's the whole point-I've not really wanted to. What was once one of my favourite ways to spend an evening has now become a chore. Admittedly I don't think my Iceland photographs are that good (in case anyone is wondering). The perpetual rain, stark landscape and poor light are not ideal photographing conditions and my camera was certainly exposed for what it really is-the cheapest DSLR on the market. I felt betrayed by my camera. Sometimes I saw a scene in my head which my camera simply wasn't good enough to get. By the end of the trip I'd almost given up trying to get good photos. I snapped away as usual because old habits die hard but I had no real expectations.
I don't know where that passion has gone but gone it definitely has. All summer I looked forward to photographing the autumn. When it arrived I felt bored. More leaves, more hazy days, skeletal trees and leaden skies... I tried to take some photos but they all looked the same as previous years' photos. I haven't even bothered to upload them to Facebook for fear of boring people with the same old subject matter. Even more shockingly our beautiful Christmas tree, this year a riot of colour and glitz has failed to inspire me to charge my camera. And Toby, my lovely new nephew? Perhaps he should be glad he's not the subject of my ditched Paparazzi ways.
I feel as if I simply have nothing new to bring to the table. My photographs look the same to me. In fact, they bore me. If I uploaded 100 photographs to Facebook I don't think I would even bother to go through them and I certainly don't expect anyone else to. My Minolta colours have lost their novelty. I know I have a good camera and that I am lucky to have got hold of an excellent example of a Minolta 70-210 'Beercan' (again, thank you to Simon Springtide on the Sony forums) but...what now?
Initially, I blamed by loss of independence brought about by my Fiat's untimely demise. I can no longer get to the places that inspire me the most-the castles, the countryside, the churches and villages of Kent. On closer inspection however, I think this started some time ago. Switching to Auto mode when I was initally a completely manual camera user was a big mistake. Eons ago I could choose the correct aperture, shutter speed, white balance and ISO and nail a scene perfectly on the first try. Now I would fumble with dials. My connection to the light has weakened and I'd struggle to juggle my shutter and lens priorities. I also feel I've outgrown my camera. The sky blows out, it is useless in lowlight (last weekend I went to a dim pub. I ended up using my iPhone which took superior low light photos; my camera hung like a millstone around my neck all evening).I need a camera that is far better than me so I can learn again and be inspired. I dream of a new camera and a faint 'lens lust' lingers but my car and teeth are obstacles to overcome and I see no new camera until the end of next year. That is assuming I will even feel the desire to part with hundreds, possibly even thousand, of pounds at that point.
The fire has gone. I don't know if it can be reignited. After two years, was photography really another of my passing phases and not the lifelong passions I thought I had finally, finally found?
My question is, if I am no longer a photographer, what am I now???
Another of the first photos, taken on the day I got my memory card.
I drove to the maximum speedlimit, overtaking anything which would cost me a minute of photographing on Bluebell Hill. I could hardly believe the sharpness and Bokeh of the camera.
Love at first snap.