I lose my mojo — or, perhaps, we should say phojo in this instance — many times. I get periods, even whole years, when I realise I haven’t taken as many images as I did in the past, and resolve to try harder. It’s a worrying condition, but I don’t think it need be terminal.
Will I, won’t I?
Probably I’m not alone in this. It will be interesting to get readers’ views on the phojo issue. Are you permanently on heat, snapping away every day? Or are there periods when your cameras just stay on the shelf and you begin to wonder if you will ever recover the enthusiasm?
An article by Andy Hutchinson at PetaPixel set me a-thinking. He says, in relation perhaps to a pastime becoming a past-time:
All the things we do in our spare time are driven by a simple love of that past-time (sic), hobby or pursuit. Those precious hours when we are not working should be filled with things we love and that we want to do. The moment that a past-time, hobby or pursuit starts to feel forced or work-like or that you’re just going through the motions, you probably ought to take a break from it.
I can certainly relate to this. In fact, if it were not for the constant nagging of Macfilos, I might well take the odd sabbatical and not worry about the loss of my phojo. But there’s always the feeling that if you give in and take a break, it will be harder to get back into the routine of going out to find photographic opportunities. The same applies to blogging. If I stop for a day or two it is very hard to restart. That’s one of the reasons I aim for at least one story every weekday.
Although I try always to carry a camera of some sort — the little Sony RX100VI is the default “minimalist” carry for me — I sometimes lack motivation and it stays in the bag all day. Conversely, if I take a bigger camera such as the Q, which nags with its presence, I often feel more motivated to unbag it and look for opportunities.
Really, though, I don’t worry much about temporary loss of enthusiasm. It’s normal. And the worst thing you can do is imagine that going out to buy a new camera or a lens will provide instant re-motivation. It won’t, of course. In general, adding new equipment only exacerbates the angst.
Keep calm and carry on
In some ways, it’s easier for hobbyists — a group in which I include myself — because we can just take it or leave it. Professional photographers are different. It’s work and has it to be done. I imagine that some professionals who hang up their cameras at the end of the day and don’t even think of snapping during leisure hours.
But as Andy says in relation to us hobbyists: “Learn to accept that passions come and go, give your interest in photography some breathing space, and you might well find that you come back to it, reinvigorated and instilled once more with a sense of fascination, adventure, and joy.”