Loosing my fire – The struggle of a creative career

If you ask photographers, Instagram is dying. Regardless what the feeling of the social media app is, and what the algorithm is up to, I feel very tired of it. I mostly use it for work these days and it has lost its charm. At one point the same thing happened here though, with my blog. I miss the days of writing 1-2 times a week about more everyday things: Documenting my life and sharing thoughts, being personal and emotional. Since Instagram / social media doesn’t have the same pull for me anymore I want to try and spend that time here instead. As well as reading blogs.

Are you reading blogs these days? If so, please share your favourite(s) in the comments below! ↡

So, what am I up to these days? Well, I’ve been working a lot. Last spring I got in contact with a local PR Firm via an acquaintance, and through them I have had a lot of work. Shooting office lifestyle and staff portraits internally for them as well as doing work through them for their clients. I have continued to work with OM Systems a lot as well, and I shot one wedding this summer. But that’s all work and there’s of course a lot more to my life. Honestly I am a bit sick of my job right now…

Loosing my fire

I think I am slowly entering that dangerous realm of where my passion has become my job, and so that fire I’ve felt for photography is dwindling.

I still love to take photos. The fact that I can spend my morning shooting staff photos at an office and the afternoon in the woods with forest photography – and it’s all work, that is unreal to me.

What I have started to dislike is all the screen time. I don’t do a lot of editing but there’s so much work sorting through, choosing and editing before delivering to clients…

I don’t like it anymore.
What I need to do is start doing more photography for me, that is not work.

With that said, all this digital work and time in front of a screen has made me long for the opposite. Analogue, hands on stuff. I started shooting with film and soon I will have two rolls to develop. I am sketching a lot again, and doing a little bit of watercolour too. And every Sunday I am meeting up with a group to do pottery. It is so nice to work with my hands and create something that is immediately tangible, with no need for a screen. 

I also want to learn more about lettering / typography and made add texts to my ink sketches and illustrations. I feel very inspired by 1924us right now, doing branding and logo design fully analogue – drawing it all on paper. I am also printing more of my work, and will have a print shop up later this fall / early winter if all goes well.

In general I am just feeling a very strong pull towards all kinds of creative endeavours that do not require a screen. It’s a bit ironic that I am then saying I will try and get back into writing here and reading blogs as it is certainly very digital, hah! But it’s all about balance, right?

art prints and sketches

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  1. I agree and have been feeling the same. Except I need more paid work in photography. Still life work for advertisements and branding.
    I want to delve back into my writing, too. However, this year due to big family issues and my own health issues balancing it all is not good.

    1. Yeah I still need more as well, and with that the balance of steady income and keeping the passion alive gets harder :/ Ah, no that sounds hard, and to the extent it’s possible to push work aside, your health and family should come first of course ♥︎ Hopefully once that is better you can find that it’s a bit easier to balance work again, get more and also find time to write. Wishing you all the best! Thank you for taking the time to come here and read and leave a comment, it means a lot to me.

  2. Much agreed that the best part of photography is not behind a screen :). Being at a point where photography is a hobby and passion but also slowly moving in the direction of (some) paid work, it’s been interesting reading this and a good reminder to keep an eye on that balance. I think for many of us in, in any creative field I guess, that balance between hobby, passion and work is a difficult one. Personally, I’ve already lost one creative hobby in the past (design) when it became my job and I’d hate to have that happen again with photography. Thanks again for sharing, hopefully you find the passion again in your personal work.

    1. yeah, being out seeing the world through the viewfinder and capturing photos is definitely the best part! I’m glad to hear you are able to move some of your photography towards paid work, and hopefully you can work on maintaining the balance! It is hard, but with reminders about if hopefully it’s easier. I’m sorry to hear you lost the passion for the design before 🙁 Thanks, I hope so too!

  3. Rania, I thought about your article for a while because I found myself – not as a photographer but as a programmer – in some of your comments. Many years ago, I too turned my passion for developing, finding solutions to a problem and designing solutions into my profession, and over the years it all became routine. And the demands became more and more and at some point the creativity got lost in the process. The more the work became, the more the demands were simply unwound to get things done. What I used to burn for got lost more and more over time. This ultimately led to me being completely off work for a total of about seven months a few years ago and being completely exhausted. At the time, I was still an employee of a large company. During this seven months off, I rediscovered the love of photography that had been lost to me years before. I simply had no time for it. To be more precise, I didn’t make time for it anymore, I burned for my passion in my job and put everything else on hold until I was burnt out.

    After I got the opportunity to start my own business a year later, I left the company and started my own little one-man business. I have now been self-employed for seven years, can largely choose my own clients and projects and am careful not to overwork myself. Through a healthy amount of work and enough time off, I have found my balance again and with it my creativity. This also applies to photography.

    Certainly, sometimes there are situations again today when work becomes a lot and exhausting and other things take a back seat. Especially in the last two and a half years, when Covid has completely changed working life, it has been exhausting and tiring every now and then to reconcile everything. In these moments, it is important to take care of myself and to take a step back and create space for something else again. I learned then that stress is the biggest enemy of creativity and that everyone has to take care of themselves in order to keep everything in balance.

    Finally to your question if and which blogs I read, I regularly read David duChemin’s blog Craft&Vision (www.craftandvision.com), David is one of my favourite writers on photography topics and books. Nothing about photography technique and gear, but about motivation and passion in photography.

    1. Thank you for taking the time to comment and for sharing this with me. It sounds exactly like what has slowly happened with me and my photography. I am hoping I have caught it in time though and now I am trying to say no to work that won’t also feed my passion and is within my niche. I am very happy to hear that your hardships eventually led to you starting your own business and that your balance is now better, and that creativity has come back with that!

      No matter what one works with, I think there will always be periods where it’s a bit more and other things have to take a back seat, and that’s okay if it not happening to often and if there’s time for recovery and rest afterwards. I have had two calmer weeks now, and soon I will enter a more hectic period again. It will mostly be hectic with fun stuff though, but it will still be draining so I need to make sure I plan for rest when it’s done.

      I definitely agree that stress or not caring for ourselves is a big enemy of creativity. Knowing that is a good first step in ensuring we don’t loose it, hopefully.

      Someone that writes about photography in a sense that is not about technique and gear sounds exactly like what I want, thank you for the recommendation – I will have to check his blog out!