October was an intense month; I think anyone who has just started university will agree with that. It’s had a lot of ups and downs and has generally felt very confusing – it’s like the rug is constantly being pulled out from underneath me and I’m not sure if my feet will ever actually be touching solid ground. Bearing this context in mind, I thought the best way to approach October’s roundup post would be to focus on the positive things that have happened, rather than trying to condense all the emotions of the month into one chaotic assortment…
I think a lot of people aim to be flawless. Or at least, they’re on a mission to become ‘perfect’ (whatever that means). It’s no surprise really, it’s an ideal pushed on us at every opportunity: the copious amounts of photoshop on magazine covers, the endless adverts for whitening toothpastes/mascara/weight loss products, the ‘top 30 under 30’ and ‘youngest billionaire’ lists designed to make us feel inferior… the list goes on and on and on.
It is pretty crazy, when you stop to think about it. There are so many things out there encouraging us to carve ourselves into smooth, marble statues of perfect proportions, beauty and purposefulness. And if you’re not everything, you’re nothing.
At school I was always the kid hiding a furious blush behind a curtain of hair, desperately hoping not to be noticed. Whenever a teacher threw a question out into the room like a knife-edged boomerang, I became painfully aware of the chair jamming into my spine as I attempted to disappear into the plastic. In short, some school days felt like being led to slaughter (in front of a cheering crowd). So not too pleasant, really.
I’m not saying I hated everything about school, I actually liked plenty of things about it. But I did find it extremely difficult to be part of a group and to interact with people I didn’t already know very well. Understandably, when I left college at 18, I did not want to go to university; I took a bit of time out of education to figure things out and, perhaps naively, hoped I would be able to fully overcome these awful feelings.
I’m having a creative crisis. By this I mean that I was hit out of nowhere with panic over what I’m doing creatively with my life. More specifically, I’m lost in my blogging journey. It’s not writer’s block as such, I have plenty of ideas for posts; I have all the wood I could ever want to build a bonfire. What I seem to have misplaced is the matches. What I need to light the spark of desire to create content has temporarily slipped out of sight. It scares me; it upsets me. Most of all it makes me question everything I’ve created before and if any of it was ‘meaningful’ at all.
And so I’ve taken a step back. It might seem like I’ve only had a few days away from blogging to an outside viewer, as I had regular content going up on my blog until last Wednesday, but in reality I’ve taken a couple of weeks off and relied on scheduled content to get me through. In this time, I’ve become a little distant from the blogging community and haven’t been interacting as much as normal. There are excuses for this – being on holiday, getting ready to move to uni – but my gut instinct tells me these excuses aren’t the reason I’ve removed myself from the online world for a bit.
I recently put out a post about shooting street photography, which included several tips and tricks for beginners to get stuck into the art of capturing spontaneous, real moments. Lots of you seemed to enjoy that post, and several people expressed an interest in getting started but feeling anxious about having to shoot on the street with people noticing you. Worry no more, I’ve got you – this is what we’re going to be discussing today.
Now, who would be a good person to turn to for advice on such a subject? A highly socially anxious individual who has a bit of experience with taking photos on the street, I’d assume. Hmm… can you think of anyone? Yeah, that’s right, you’ve come to the right place. If you’ve read my blog before, you’ll definitely have come across content centred around anxiety – even if you weren’t looking for it. I’ve talked before a lot about how standing out in any way at all has given me crippling irrational fear in the past.
A year ago today I was probably walking home exhausted and over-heated from my full-time job at an ice cream shop in town. I was in a totally different place then, to where I am now. Not just in terms of work, but in all areas of my life. I guess the same can be said by comparing any two months a year apart, but I think I become particularly reflective around autumn, and this past year has held a lot more change than most.
Coming into September always feels like a new beginning – the start of a fresh academic year breathes a renewed wave of energy into everything, even if I’m not personally attending school that year. And so this seemed like a good opportunity to reflect on the last 12 months – the good, the bad and the lessons I’ve learnt.
Some of you who have been around on my blog since the start of the year will know that I started getting into manual photography (figuring out all the settings yourself rather than leaving your camera on auto the whole time) back in January. However, I’ve been interested in shooting photos of things that are happening on the streets for quite a while longer than that. I think this interest in street photography stemmed from travelling – coming into contact with ways of life so different to what I experience back home made me want to capture these moments on camera.
I’m still very much learning about shooting photos on the street, but I do feel like I’ve learnt a few things about street photography since I started getting into it. So today, in collaboration with Panasonic, I thought I’d share those tips with you all. I’ve been aware of Panasonic cameras for almost as long as I’ve been interested in photography – my dad has had several different models over the years and has always had great things to say about them. One he doesn’t have yet though is the recently released Lumix mirrorless camera, which is capable of shooting high quality images and videos in 4K. Sounds like it could be a great companion for shooting on the street!