Maëlick in the North

Toy Photography in Northern Finland, Sweden and Norway

Photography Diary – Summer 2021

It’s been four months…

Four months without writing anything here. Four months without posting any toy photo on Instagram. And two months without creating any toy photography.

2021, the year of the rut

I can now safely say that 2021 has been the year of the creative rut for me.

Looking back at my own blog posts from 2021, the first part of the year seems like a succession of periods where I struggled with inspiration and periods where I was a bit more active. Four months during which I had ideas for many projects. Some have never been started. Some haven’t been completed yet. Few made their way online.

This led to the second part of the year. The past four months have been a period without much photography. I gave up all my (vague) plans for the summer. No trip above the Arctic circle this summer. The primary culprit? Mental exhaustion and a lack of motivation due to work.

The summer has been a time to recharge my batteries. To be honest, it’s hasn’t been as successful as I hoped. The truth is, I know solving the issue with my day-to-day job won’t solve all the problems.

Yet, it isn’t been a complete waste. Being “productive” photographically doesn’t always require creating images. While I haven’t used my camera and my toys much, it’s been an opportunity for me to reflect and understand what is happening. I’m starting to realize where I am from a creative point of view. In the end, it might be more valuable long term than creating images.

While I might still need some time to figure out some plans for the future, there is one thing that is becoming clear…

I am done with Instagram and social media

I have been struggling with Instagram for so long now. The more time has passed, the more opening Instagram has become uninspiring. I open Instagram when I’m bored. Most of the time, it’s endless scrolling and to be honest, a complete waste of time. It reduces my ability to focus. And even though I’ve been aware of this for quite some time, I kept doing it because of the fear of missing out.

Last year, I decided to refocus some of my efforts on my own blog. Try to make it a priority over any social media platform. More recently, I have read quite a few stories about people deciding to leave Instagram. It’s not just a matter of feeling inspired. I think there are more general issues with social media and its addictive nature that go beyond creative photography. All this made me think.

Then July and the Stuck in Plastic Summer Workshop came. After the workshop, I wanted to post something on Instagram. I hadn’t posted anything since the Spring workshop…

But I didn’t. I had to disconnect from Instagram. It wasn’t just about posting pictures. I also wanted to take a break from opening the app on a daily basis. No more mindless scrolling. This marked the beginning of my social media detox.

My current and future use of social media

I haven’t uninstalled Instagram or closed my account, and I probably won’t. For a while, I thought that maybe I would post one last time to announce I was done with the platform, and then never post again.

After some time thinking, I don’t want to completely prevent myself from checking the app or even posting there. What I want to avoid is to compulsively check the app as soon as I have time with “nothing to do”.

I want to try the same approach that I’ve been following with Facebook for years: keep posting for those who care while avoiding opening the app when it’s not a conscious decision.

I managed this with Facebook for quite some time by using the feature allowing to post from Instagram to a Facebook page. More recently, I’ve used the Facebook business suite to post on both Instagram and Facebook at the same time. I’m now looking for a way that would allow me to post from WordPress to Instagram without having to use the app.

Getting out of the creative rut

I haven’t been able yet to find again the motivation to put toys in front of a camera.

There’s been progress. During the peak summer, I would sometimes go out without taking toys and/or my camera. For the past weeks, I have been going out with toys more often. Yet, not one time have I felt truly inspired enough to take a photo.

In the current situation, I am not putting any pressure on myself to produce images (or blog posts). Thus, I don’t know when will be my next post. However, there are a few topics that I want/need to write about.

One of them is my creative rut. I’ve been trying to put words on how I feel regarding toy photography in general and my own photography. I’ve also started to gather ideas on how to get out of that creative rut and find inspiration again in my own photography.

This will take time. In the current situation, I’m expecting progress to be slow. But at least now, I know progress is possible… I finally start seeing a light at the end of the tunnel.

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