Photography, Student Mum

“How are you doing with your course?”

That’s one of the questions I’ve heard a lot in the past months. And considered I shouted my decision to start a college course to become a photographer from all the rooftops I could find, well… people want to know what’s going on. And that’s fine! But other than “Oh gosh, it’s hard!”, there’s not much I could say.

Because it IS hard. And I struggle a lot. I got the first two assignments done and I passed both. They took me quite long to finish but they were fun. It was mostly about understanding the camera functions, the aperture triangle (the synergy of shutter speed, aperture and ISO) and how to control your camera’s settings in manual mode.

Grand. Got that.  I thought.

But then something really sad happened: I stopped taking photos for fun! I became very much self-conscious about my ability to take nice pictures, my camera stayed in its bag, the bag gathered dust. I had great ideas what to do but struggled to imagine how I could achieve great results as I am still “ONLY” a student. How silly! Because, when I wasn’t a student, even, I took ALL the photos. Of everything and everyone. I played around with Lightroom and Photoshop and enjoyed that! It was fun, I liked my photos. Sometimes it surprised me what I was capable of. And that’s why I had originally decided to take the professional road and pay a huge amount of money to learn to be a photographer. From scratch.

I had the idea, that in the future, I could contribute to our family income earning money with something I am passionate about. And here I am now.

Still stuck in the middle of finishing assignment number three which needs a lot of research and putting the info I find into sense-making sentences to produce a piece of knowledge, on paper, good enough to pass. In a language that’s not my first and, to me,  not most natural spoken one. If you know what I mean.

The weather being a dick by presenting itself grey and wet and cold and not at all nice since what feels like an eternity didn’t help. My family being about 1000km away, weeks of sickness and a general feeling of loneliness and isolation in this small house with no visitors at all in weeks and months made me feel really really down. (My mum was here over Christmas. And that was lovely. I still miss her.) And I find it hard to reach out to people myself when I know I am not in a very chatty mood. It’s a vicious cycle.

Anyway… one day I was brave and I reached out to get help. I got in touch with a local photographer, a friend and business neighbour of Gerd and asked him if he could explain a few things to me so we arranged for a tutoring date two weeks ago. We didn’t work a lot, though. We I chatted about my feeling of being stuck with the assignments and how I lost interest in taking photos and that I don’t know how to go forward.

He seemed to understand my struggles and advised me to take a break from the assignments, as I have another three years time to finish all 15 of them. Not to be too hard on myself. To try to enjoy taking photos again and if that meant to switch the setting of my camera to a semi-auto mode to be more spontaneous, so be it.

I’m not back in my previous happy place with photography quite yet but I’ll get there.

Two days ago, I’ve had a day in college again and, AGAIN, after 10 minutes into the class, I felt like going home. I thought I was going to face a very long, very theoretical day, filled with words I wouldn’t understand and make me feel stupid again. But I listened to one of my favourite student buddies who explained what I hadn’t understood and who told me to have a treat to raise my blood sugar levels and felt much better fairly quick. (Thank you for dealing with my moods so patiently, T. :-*)

So now I am sharing the results of a task we had been given on Saturday. We were told to find a spot on the campus, stay in that spot and take 24 photos of the area around us.

First I thought I wouldn’t enjoy that, but I did once I had started.

Feel free to do the same! Take your camera or your smart phone, find a spot in your house or outside, stay in that spot, don’t walk, take 24 different images of the area you’re in. It really helps you focusing on what’s around you and you’ll discover things you wouldn’t have noticed otherwise.

Enjoy!

Lena

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