Introduction: Have you ever just lost your passion for something? Maybe you’ve lost your passion for something you once loved. Maybe you’ve lost your passion for photography.
Losing your passion for the things you once loved is really not as uncommon as you might think. You are not alone! At some point or another, we can all find ourselves experiencing burnout.
So what do we do? Is there some magic to regaining your passion? Do we have to travel to a mystical place in Tibet and seek out the Ancient One to regain our lost lust for the hobbies we once enjoyed?
Perhaps not! Maybe you just need to take a break and let your passion come back to you. In this post, we catch up with once upon a time wedding photographer, Jim Sollows of Jim Sollows Photography. These days, he simply prefers, film and digital photographer, as well as educator, and he’s not shooting your wedding!
Books for Motivation – Read towards a New Tomorrow!
|The Confidence Gap: A Guide to Overcoming Fear and Self-Doubt |
Low Self Esteem, Shy, Insecure, No Confidence? This book will help you better understand your relationship with fear and how utilizing mindfulness can help control negative thoughts and feelings.
|A Year of Positive Thinking: Daily Inspiration, Wisdom, and Courage |
Easy to read. One Day at a time, 365 days of positive thinking. Reading is a great way to start your day, especially when it gives us inspiration, courage, and the wisdom to transform your life.
|Let That Sh*t Go (Zen as F*ck Journals) |
A journal for those looking for some playful witty prompts. Warning: Not for everyone, lots of swearing.
|The Self Confidence Workbook: A Guide to Overcoming Self-Doubt and Improving Self-Esteem |
Great workbook/journal with interactive exercises and relatable character scenarios to help you overcome self-doubt and achieve your goals.
Losing the Passion and the Journey back to Photography
Story by Jim Sollows – All Supporting Photography is also by Jim.
Photography has been a part of my life for 47 years. I was a quiet, science-minded child in a competitive all-sports school. Appreciating my difficulty fitting in, a teacher suggested that I join the newspaper/yearbook committee as a photographer.
I fell in love with everything photography had to offer: the feel of the camera, the thrill of capturing a moment, the smell of the darkroom.
After school, I entered the emergency health care profession, but photography continued to be an important part of my personal life. By that time I had acquired my first real camera, a beautiful Contax 139 with Carl Zeiss optics, and we were inseparable.
A Wedding Photographer in the Making
The hospital I worked at, here in Vancouver, was both a major trauma centre and a teaching hospital. This meant that many of our staff were either in the midst of or finishing, their education. In addition to these professional accomplishments, many people were also celebrating personal milestones like getting married.
One day, being aware of my interest in photography, a surgical resident asked me if I would photograph her wedding. I did, and when it was all said and done the couple were very happy with the results.
Word quickly spread, and before long I found all my days off occupied by the tasks that arise from running a wedding photography business. I was busy, even shooting multiple weddings in one day, and before I knew it 3 years and well over 100 weddings had gone by.
A Love for the Camera, Gone!
It is worth noting that this was all done in addition to my “real career”, and after 3 years my love for the camera was just… gone. Photography had shifted from a wonderful hobby that I loved, to something that I came to resent. I was done! My camera was put on a shelf, eventually sold, and my life moved in a different direction.
10 Years Later
It was about ten years later and my work had evolved to where I was now teaching in the emergency health care field. I encountered a work associate one day at a local Canada Day event. He was a photographer, and I was immediately intrigued by the little camera that he wore at his side (it was the Fujifilm X100).
The camera had a single fixed lens, wonderfully tactile controls, and it felt like an old school film camera (despite being a modern digital camera). That X100 re-ignited something in me, and I soon found myself with my own Fujifilm X100T.
Rediscovering Photography on my own Terms
For the first time in years, photography was exciting again, and I soon found myself exploring genres such as street, landscape, and still life. I had no clients, there were no expectations or obligations, and the simplicity of the X100T meant that I didn’t even need to carry a camera bag!
This was the type of photography that I loved when I used to shoot with my old Contax 139, and I was in heaven! There is no doubt that my little Fujifilm camera put the fun back into photography for me.
Coming back fresh, after such a long break, also helped define what I would and wouldn’t shoot now. Today, if someone asks me to shoot their wedding, I only laugh and say “not a chance”!
A Journey back to Film
The story doesn’t end there, however, because a few years ago I re-discovered the old Contax 139. Not the actual camera that I used to own, but I bought one that was in beautiful shape with the intention of making it a display item.
I can remember holding that camera in my hands one day, reminiscing and enjoying the feel of it, when I suddenly thought, “Wouldn’t it be fun, just once, to shoot another roll of film? Wait, can I even buy film anymore? What about processing it?”
I soon learned that film and processing were readily available locally, so I loaded the camera and shot a roll of black & white film. It felt effortless, like old times, and my hands moved smoothly from task to task as I operated the camera.
I remember practically trembling with anticipation as I picked up the film from the lab a few days later. It was magic: seeing my images, feeling the images in my hands, appreciating the pure joy of holding a physical print instead of viewing images on a computer screen.
I shot more and more film from that point on, and soon started doing my own developing because it was so easy and inexpensive (processing film doesn’t even require a darkroom, just a dark bag for loading film into a daylight developing tank).
Soon my collection of film cameras began to grow, with everything from my Leica M6 to my 1939 Graflex Speed Graphic. All of my cameras are working tools, not museum pieces. Yes, I always have my Fujifilm X100T with me when I shoot. I love shooting digital but film has an important place in my photography!
Sharing the Film Experience
A few years ago, as I was shooting with my Contax, a young fellow approached me and hesitatingly asked, “Is that a film camera”? I explained that it was and he said he had never seen one before. His name was Tad and he was a graphic arts student at a nearby university and was fascinated by this mysterious type of photography that he had only read about.
I let him shoot a few frames that day and, as promised, I sent him digital copies of the film photos he had taken. Tad was thrilled and became enthralled with film photography, which led to me loaning him one of my cameras and us shooting together several times.
That was several years ago and we’ve stayed in touch. Today, living near Toronto, Tad is a very active film photographer and proudly told me that he recently built a darkroom in his new home.
This experience mirrored something that I had been noticing more and more lately: film photography has been rapidly gaining popularity, especially with a younger generation who had grown up with digital.
Why Learn to Shoot Film
Film can be such a different experience, and I knew that there must be other people out there who want to explore this amazing art form. I am a long time educator by profession, now retired, so I’ve created a Film Experience program that provides the opportunity for people like Tad to learn what film is all about and to experience it first-hand.
I will always love digital photography, I’m definitely not trying to convince people to switch from digital to film. Film photography allows us to simplify, slow down, and create art in a much more personal and tactile manner. This medium offers so much and I love having the opportunity to give back to the photographic community with my workshop program.
My life has gone full circle in a way, and I couldn’t be happier.“Sometimes, the end and the beginning are the same place.” Click To Tweet
How can you get back into Photography again?
My last post, How to find Motivation for Photography: 10 Do Now Tips!, is definitely going to get the camera back in your hands. I’m sure of it! But let’s look at Jim’s story real quick.
Jim decided to give photography a rest and let the camera come back to him.
That’s one option but maybe Jim was burned out because he wasn’t always doing things on his terms. When Jim came back to the camera, it seems he did so with the same passion as when he first started.
“For the first time in years, photography was exciting again, and I soon found myself exploring genres such as street, landscape, and still life. I had no clients, there were no expectations or obligations, and the simplicity of the X100T meant that I didn’t even need to carry a camera bag!“
Find Your Own Path
This may not have been Jim’s exact experience but I know it is the experience of many photographers. You get a camera and show any amount of promise and suddenly, everyone you know thinks you are the perfect photographer for everything.
Want to shoot my wedding, baby shower, newborn photos, family photos, senior photos, bar mitzvah, and the list goes on and on!
Why, because you probably won’t charge much. But now you are trading your time with the thing you love to partake in jobs that your heart is not really into.
This is a sure recipe for photographer burnout. Do things because you love to do them or are truly interested in that particular genre of photography.
Like Jim, you may just build a profitable business out of it, but just know, it might be at the expense of the hobby you know and love.
Books for Motivation – Stop Doubting your Greatness!
|You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life |
Feisty, some swearing, and more humorous than academic. Change your stories, change your life thinking. Great for those trying to start a business, make money but filled with self-doubt.
|Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones |
“You do not rise to the level of your goals. You fall to the level of your systems.” Proven strategies that are both, actionable and practical to help you build positive habits. Myself, huge fan of habits that encourage success!
|The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom (A Toltec Wisdom Book) |
A code of conduct/roadmap for life based on ancient Toltec wisdom that aims to set you free of your self-limiting beliefs.
|The Big Leap: Conquer Your Hidden Fear and Take Life to the Next Level |
Discover and learn the pattern of self-limiting beliefs that live within you and go beyond them to liberate your greatness.
Join the Tribe
Want to join an amazing tribe of photographers, artists, and other creatives? Want more NFT Tips? Check out our Facebook group, NFT Photography Community. The Goal: Let’s just all help each other out!
Also, don’t forget to jump on the email list to get some free Photoshop Overlays and my “very occasional” email. I want to talk with you about inspiration, photography, blogging and just staying motivated.