Last December, I took my customary time off in the last week of the year. Combined with the statutory holidays and weekends, I had 10 days of holidays with no agenda. Ideally, I would have travelled somewhere but the world wasn’t ready to accept travellers yet. So there was I with much-needed free time to me. I did make a To-Do list to fill up those days and while doing so it occurred to me to spend some time listening to a master of photography and absorb some wisdom. I bought a masterclass from Alec Soth, a renowned photographer and Magnum member. The course was interesting. Listening to the experience of someone like Alec Soth was enlightening and seeing a glimpse of his process was engrossing. I finished the masterclass in one sitting - it was that interesting. What the masterclass did for me was it enforced my belief in the art form I had come to accept as my calling. It made me look for more words of wisdom and be inspired. I bought photography books and looked up other renowned names in the industry. It was all a great experience but despite the vastness of resources I had at my hand I wasn't creating. I was getting impressed with all the work I was exposing myself to. Not until today did I realize that I was mistaking being impressed with being inspired.
Today, I started watching another masterclass. This time it is from Jonas Bendiksen - another stellar figure associated with Magnum. In today’s masterclass, Jonas was talking about his “Influences & Inspirations”. And what he told, struck a chord in me. It wasn’t his own photography work or someone else’s work that was inspiring him to do newer work. Photography wasn’t giving him ideas to create new photos but it was everything outside the photography world. He mentions a book, a nice magazine article etc. And there I was listening to my own reality. I had to reflect back to the days I was ideating and creating. When I would step out with a camera in hand, certain things would just connect with me instantly and tell me a story. That eventually would become a picture I would be proud of. Those certain things were connecting to an emotion that was being embedded in my mind from a different source - a book, a nice magazine article etc. Listening to Jonas today made things so much clearer as to why my surroundings don't connect to me the way they used to.
It’s been weeks, rather months that my mind has been rather numb. I can’t really say if it’s the pandemic, my anxiety, the untoward happenings in life or something else or everything I just mentioned. It was obvious that I was dealing with things that weren’t really nourishing my mind. There were no emotions and intellect built that would usually help me create. Looking back I realize a part of me is lying dead. It’s time to resurrect that part for the sake of resurrecting my photography and also for the sake of being and staying curious. It's good for the mind and soul.