Feeling Guilt When You’re Not Using Your Camera

Pittsburgh, street art, street photography, sculpture, vsco, Leica

A rolling stone gathers no moss, time and tide waits for no man, every moment matters, life is short, and on, and on, and on… These sayings and many others run through my head every waking moment of the day when I “take a break”. Am I the only one?

Worcester, Fine Art, Abstract Photography, composite, Leica, Leica M10, photography
An image from one of the projects I completed this summer in Worcester, MA.

This year was a whirlwind of photography projects that had me traveling all over the place, which I loved every minute of. By the end of October I was ready for a small break though. For the past few years I’ve balanced my life with what I call create and consume periods. Create is just what it sounds like, I work and create art with my photography. Consume is where I try to take in as much education and art as I possibly can from sources other than myself. I then use what I consumed to inform what I create next time around. Rinse, wash, and repeat.

Note: To learn more about the importance of consume and produce you can check out my article titled Consumption Vs. Production – A Balanced Approach To Proficiency.

Lately though, I’ve felt the pang of guilt as I see my cameras sitting around my office… They’re just watching, judging, and waiting. I’ve got shots in my mind that I’m ready to take when the conditions permit (Pittsburgh is rain, rain, rain), the conditions I want for each shot is elusive at best. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not sitting on my hands all day. I exercise, study everything I can get my hands on, work around the house, etc., but my mind never leaves photography. Hence the guilt.

Boston, fine art photography, Leica, Leica m10, Leica m10-p, fractal cityscape, photography, abstract photography, composite
An image from one of the project I completed in Boston, MA. this year.

Perhaps the guilt comes from the fact that 2018 was one my busiest photography years. I feel like I had my camera in my hands or around my neck so long that it’s a part of my body. This is going to sound weird, but my camera feels like a part of my family. Yikes! My wife is actually a little jealous, lol.

Acadia National Park, Rainy weather, photography, Leica, Leica M10-P, street photography, national park photography, fall, foliage, autumn, Maine
Acadia National Park 2018 – Taken with the Leica M10-P

Ultimately though, I feel that taking this time off is more beneficial than harmful to my craft. Though I’d love to say that I pick my camera up and hit the streets every single day, it’s just not feasible with another job, a family, and the amount of research I do (ultimately for photography but not photography specific). Would I be further ahead if all I did was photography? Either that, or burnt out.

I believe the alternative, shooting year-round, every day, often leads one to burn out and stray off course. Perhaps I’m wrong, I certainly don’t want to discourage anyone from doing that if it’s working for them… This is just the conclusion I’ve come to that works for me and my life. The time off I take, though I often feel guilt and drive, informs the time I have my camera in hand.

Venice Beach, Santa Monica, Street Photography, Fine art, Santa Monica Pier, Sunset
Santa Monica Beach 2017 – Shot with the Leica M262

Conclusion

So, there you have it. I feel guilt but I believe that is natural. I think it’s similar to the athlete that has to watch video of previous games while all they want to do is get out and play. Without the information though, they are less informed and perhaps a liability to the team. Frustrating as it is, it’s a necessity.

Note: With all that being said, we have to be careful we aren’t making excuses to never pick the camera up. It would be easy for me to sit in the comfort of my office and come up with a hundred different reasons not to hit the streets with my camera but at the end of the day we have to man up (or woman up) and head out there. We have one life to live and I’ll be damned if I’m gonna sit around growing moss or whatever that saying says.

Have you ever felt guilt for not picking up your camera and working on your craft? Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comment section below. You can follow my current work/projects on Instagram @PhotolisticLife. Thanks for reading.

More from John Barbiaux

Photo Journal

The Photo Journal is where we will feature one of your (the...
Read More

2 Comments

Comments are closed.