I Have Started To HATE Photography
The Covid-19 pandemic was challenging in different ways for different people – economically, physiologically, emotionally, academically – probably in more than one way for any given person. I am grateful that I did not loose anyone last year whom I personally knew – but considering the current scenario in India, I am more than scared now. I don’t know whether I or the people I care about will make it to the other side of this – India has run out of medical oxygen, vaccines and medicines, the hospitals have run of beds to accommodate patients, and there are not enough burial grounds and cremation facilities for the deceased.
In the middle of all these, it feels selfish to care about one’s own art – simply selfish. Yet, that’s the only way to stay sane – amidst all the madness, all the tragedy, all the barbarism. But there is only so much I can do – the news is driving me crazy, I can’t meet any of my friends, and I am scared for my life. Will art actually be able to act as an emotional buffer?
I traveled a lot in the last 3 months – I went to Varanasi, India all alone on 31 December 2020 – it was my first solo trip. I visited my ancestral house three times since then. In March I was insanely busy – I was appearing for my online end-of-term exams in college, I attended two photo-walks with the people in the local photography community here in Kolkata, I roamed around the city all alone and took several hundred photographs, I assisted a friend in making a movie – I was busy, I was feeling good meeting new people, going out. Things were finally looking good after spending so much time in quarantine in 2020 till they were not.
Since the start of April 2021, I started struggling in different ways – March was great considering the amount of work I did, but after socializing with so many incredible photographers and creatives from my local community, I started to feel like an imposter – I started having this constant voice inside my head that my work is not good enough, that it is never going to be good enough. It started feeling like a creative block now. I had to deliberately remind myself about why I even started photography: because it allows me to enter a meditative state. I have tried out many hobbies in my life – singing, dancing, painting, playing chess – nothing made me enter that zen state, that flow state. When I started doing photography, entering the flow state was effortless – I used to enjoy the state of being mindful – getting to see the small beauties around me that I would otherwise overlook. I was struggling with this feeling of being an imposter because I started comparing my work with the work of others – the amount of attention their work was getting on social media.
I started hating the process of photography – even the simple act of picking up the camera. I have started to dread the process of posting my photos on social media – and no matter how many people praise my work (even if they are people whose work inspire me, people I look up to) I am finding myself extremely self-critical. Consequently I have started to get creatively blocked – I have stopped writing blogs on this platform, I can’t even draw a single picture in a sketchbook – the only thing I have managed to do is take these self-portraits in the last two days: