It was one of my last weeks in photography school when my professor said "You're going to get burned out. You won't want to take any more pictures". Our class exchanged glances as we sat in a studio bay dreaming daily of all of the amazing photographs we were sure to keep creating in the future. In our minds, our professor didn't know what he was talking about. We were the exception....right?
Ironically, for me, it was only a few months out of graduating when I felt it for the first time. The burn-out.
This thing I used to do without any compensation, or even attention, became monotonous and lacked personal passion. After concentrating on commercial photography in school and interning at various studios, I constantly thought How will this make money? Will I attract clients through these images? What's the point of carrying my D-SLR if I'm not on a job?
I couldn't believe the unusually negative thoughts that were coming to mind as time crept further and further away from that studio classroom where I was steadily encouraged, challenged and inspired.
The real world affected me.
With the introduction of iphone photography and Instagram, the temptation was even deeper not to bring my Canon into the light and do this thing I used to love so much.
There's another part of this; part of my spiritual testimony where I felt God pulling me away from photography as I had unintentionally made it an idol. However, through months of prayer, self-inspection and separating myself from shooting, I felt Him eventually lead me back to photography and presenting amazing opportunities, but also calling me to serve in ministry. Even still, the burn-out remained.
It's been 3 years since I sat in that college classroom, and I'm still holding myself back from my, now stagnant, personal photography. At my current employment position working in ministry, I'm experiencing the beauty of other creative outlets like writing, art direction and graphic design. I'm crazy about this job; it's seriously the best I've ever had, but my hesitation to shoot still shakes me. I compare myself to other artists and it's paralyzing.
As I celebrate another birthday this month, I've been thinking about ways I can intentionally refuel this God-given desire into something that I love to do and can glorify Him through.
If any of you reading can relate to this emotion in any way, I would love to hear about how you are dealing with creative burn-out or have conquered it. There is fear in being transparent, especially online for the world to see, but I trust that through sharing I can find support and creative collaboration from the wonderful people who have taken the moments to read this.
Yours gratefully and openly,