This month as I celebrate 10 years in photography, I look back at what I have been doing the past decade, how my photography has evolved and also how photography has helped me develop professionally and personally.
Of course photography has taught me to see things better, to notice the small things we often miss, etc… but that’s all a bit cliché or at least it’s something you’d expect.
Photography has also brought me a certain degree of freedom. First of all, I don’t need to work full time for an ungrateful boss and second, when I get requests for photography jobs, I can refuse them if I don’t fancy them. Call me mad but I don’t want to ever drag my feet heading for a client job, I need to feel passion for it. And if that means making less money so be it.
What I least expected was photography essentially turning me into a writer.
It crept-up on me without notice, like a mugger in a London street, just not as scary. Almost as if I woke up one day and thought to myself… hey… wait a minute! I’m a writer! HONEY, GET THE CHAMPAGNE OUT I’VE MADE IT!
Not quite like that but I did come to a bit of a sudden realisation that having been writing so much and so regularly for my blog and for creative/photography magazines, over 70 articles in almost as many publications, I had developed a passion for writing and was quite good at it.
If you told any of my school teachers, I think you may surprise a few as I wasn’t particularly good back then, probably more for lack of interesting things to talk about as a 12 year old as opposed to a lack of talent.
It’s even more surprising since I was raised in France and French was the language I spoke full time until I turned 22. OK I was born in England but my parents hardly ever spoke to me in English in the French context we lived in.
Ten years now since I first picked up a camera and not only am I writing about photography but also creativity as a whole, about my many side passions which include cookery, travel, DIY, etc...
That’s the beauty of writing, you can write about anything you want, anything that makes you who you are, all your accumulated experiences, it’s a lot more creative than I ever thought and there will always be one person who relates to what you write about.
What initially was done by necessity, I wrote a blog because I was certain it was what we had to do, became something I enjoyed and did naturally without questioning or noticing.
I enjoy writing on many similar levels as I enjoy photography.
I said it above, writing is creatively very stimulating.
Then there's the fact I always aim to get better at what I do, and when I write, just like when I photograph, I am my harshest critic. This means I’m overly harsh at times but the benefit is that I never stop improving and thinking about my next step.
The day you believe you’re as good as you can ever be should never be anything else than the day you die, until then… keep developing, keep learning.
I also find writing to be a truly meditative experience, like photography or anything else you focus on so much that you forget what’s around you, you forget the thoughts which haunt you day and night, you forget any worry you have, even if only very temporarily. At least it’s something you can pick up again as soon as you feel the need to.
Finally, writing has helped me organise my thoughts. Because I’ve been putting my thoughts down on (digital) paper, I have had to make some order and some sense in my brain.
This in turn has helped me become a better (photography) speaker and a better teacher. I spend a lot less time trying to get my thoughts out in a coherent way and that in turn removes a little of the stress associated with public speaking.
I could keep writing about writing (did that come out alright?) and its many health benefits but I think you get my passion.
I encourage any of you who don’t write much to give it a go, and those of you who think you don’t write so well just keep at it and just try get better a little at a time, you’ll get there eventually!
Before I go, here’s a small selection of some recent write-ups which I recommend, feel free to leave a comment too. You can also check-out the many features of my work in international publications.
Happy writing and happy shooting!