Winter of the dead hobbies (part 1): Photography

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

  1. SeveDB Blog says:

    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!


    1. M. says:

      There isn’t too much to photograph on the walk from home to the metro Budapest metro is not so photogenic!


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