Generally, I like to keep busy. I have kept:
“Busy > Bored”
as a personal motto for years. That being said, it is not easy to do. Nor were the reasons I did so virtuous. Keeping busy is the only way I can the depression from truly kicking in. If I keep busy, I don’t notice how much my life sucks. Plus I have been promised for years that if I had a lot of hobbies people wouldn’t find me quite as boring as I am, although that seems to have failed as well.
I have had a dicey relationship with photography for years. I opened up an Instagram account ages ago (i’d like to say I did it in 2012, but that may be inaccurate), but I didn’t use it all that much. There were some photos on there in the early days, but I can’t recall what the hell I may have posted. This was because around 2015 my account was hacked by some Belorussians1 and I lost everything on it.
But I got right back on the horse. I was living in China at the time and had been taking picture of things pretty damn regularly. I had loads of extra pictures to repopulate my Instagram feed. Not to mention that in its own quirky way, even the parts of China I was in were interesting from a photographic point of view.
Unfortunately, then I moved back to the US, and not one of the nice parts of the US either. I moved to a really shitty part where there isn’t much to see outside of your local 7-11. The photography came to a screeching halt.
That, or maybe I just didn’t want to live in the US.
But in late 2019 I left, and found my way back in to Europe. Even the covid lockdowns worked out in the favor of my hobby, as i would take long walks about Chalkida and be able to photograph something in the process.
I got me back in the habit, and I started taking a picture a day. I kept this up when I left Greece for Italy in 2021 and throughout my unemployment there in. I did so with a lot of success. Or at least, somewhat.
I have 1,500 or so posts on Instagram. Very rarely does a photo of mine get more than 2 likes.
At some point I am going to write a little bit about the difference between practice and deliberate practice. But a couple of points on it now: to get better at something, people tell you that you need to do it. But that isn’t true. You need to do it in a way where you get feedback.
But that isn’t why this stopped. Budapest is, or at least, the new job I have picked up there is. The city itself is not to blame – it has stunning architecture and is certainly lively enough. In that respect, I don’t think I could be happier.
What ended up killing it was the job. My goal is to take at least a picture a day (again, deliberate practice), but this becomes pretty hard to do when your day’s get so monotonous. I wake up in the morning and more or less just get on public transportation to go to work. The sun is barely up when I leave, and it has long since set when I am going back. Night photography is not really much of a thing I am interested in or yet good at, and with the winter cold I mostly just want to get back inside. I am also not yet the kind of weirdo who is willing to take pictures of strangers on the public transportation.
In a respect, the hobby is dying because of my work schedule, and my not being able to find time to have a life around it.
Initially, I tried to remedy this by taking a load of photos on the weekend and then uploading them throughout the week. This worked at first, but after a while it was easy to forget about this as well. Eventually, I just stopped altogether.
Winter is hard. Starting a new job is hard. The intersection of the two has been hard. I think it has taken something of a toll, and I am a little depressed by all this. But now of course, there is the chicken and egg question: did I stop because I am depressed, or am I depressed because I stopped?
1 So before anyone asks and I get accused of weird racism, yes, I know they were Belorussians because my Russian ex was the person who told me that this had happened and she’s pretty good with that kind of linguistics.
3 Comments Add yours
Not if you have a good phone to take a quick shot at anything that crosses your path. Of course, you have to give up your antipathy for iPhone and get a go; these days, nothing beats its camera.
Bonus, a serious camera is a good camera, but the phone is always with you and that is the best camera!
There isn’t too much to photograph on the walk from home to the metro Budapest metro is not so photogenic!