Creative Lockdown: do we, don’t we, should we?
As a food photographer for the best part of 25 years I find myself for the first time, at home, frozen out of any practical work and income. Now this isn’t a violin playing hard luck story as fully appreciate how lucky I am to have my health, a loving family, a garden, some yeast! but I look at posts from other professional photographers and I am conflicted. Are the images posted to keep the photographer “relevant” to prospective commissioners, are they posted to sate the photographer who is feeling like he/she should be doing “something” or is it just blind panic.
My neighbour at my studio is a professor at an internationally renowned, art college and he was discussing with me his creative block with regards to his primary artistic discipline, although he seems to be what I am going to refer to as Covidnesting. The amount of people redecorating their houses, sanding garden furniture, varnishing decking is impressive and creative and apart from anything, useful. I thought nesting was only accompanied by the onset of babies, but he, as well as many others are creatively home styling.
I did have a severe bout of the virus and, although nearly hospitalised, have had a slow but successful recovery so my whole family feel like this is just week two for us in lockdown. We’re just approaching the apex of the honeymoon period and now we are trying to add structure and learning and positivity and most importantly adaptability. I may have stopped taking photos, but I’ve been ferociously cooking and baking and I’m exorcizing my creative needs that way.
I suppose it comes down to the fact we have all become existential photographers… if we post photos which are no longer “useful”, “relevant” or more pertinently seen, then why post them in the first place. Who is looking at them in a professional way to book or does this matter? I’m looking at images from fellow professionals and I’m struggling a bit to engage in them. I’m not talking about shots of home baked cookies, or that special dinner someone’s knocked up and posted on Facebook or Instagram, but all genres of professional photos whether it be re-touched trainers, car photography, or magazine food photography.
I’m not berating photographers for doing this, but I feel so out of the zone that I can’t conceive of doing this myself…
So it comes back to my original question: do we, don’t we, should we?