Photo mojo. When you have it, you see light everywhere. You see it as it hits the one ivy shoot. You see it as it hits a path just right. Shadows seems to be putting on a show at every turn. You see the contrast in the greens of a fern.
But when you loose it, when that mojo and passion seems to leave you, everything changes. There are many reasons I have lost the eagerness to pick up my camera. Sometimes a roll I was excited about comes back full of blurry or underexposed images. Or even worse, no images at all. Sometimes I try something new- new camera or a new film type- and I fail. But most of the time, photo mojo seems to leave me as mysteriously has it appears. How do I push through? How do I load another roll of film when nothing in me wants to shoot? And on a deeper level, why do I continue to load my camera up with film even when I am not feeling that passion?
While I am a huge fan of experiencing and feeling all my feelings, there are times I need to put them aside and do the opposite of what I feel like doing. Love is one of those things. I must love even when I don't feel like it. Photography is another. I have learned that if I only shoot when I feel like it, I won't shoot often enough. And if I am not shooting, I am not honing my craft. There are times when we need to load up that camera, take a few hours of wandering, and just shoot. You won't be feeling it or exceptionally inspired, but pushing through that lack of mojo usually does something surprising- it inspires you once again. I have found that my “just do it" rolls are sometimes my favorite. I don't know if it is the sad and angsty emotions that reveal themselves in the images or if I am not expecting too much from myself, so they are always a pleasant surprise. But each time I get one of my “just do it” rolls back, my heart skips a beat and remember why I do this craft.
I am reminded that all of my emotions are part of photography- not just the happy, light-filled moments, but the moments that are filled with the shadows and dark. I remember that I don’t always shoot hoping for that perfect image, although it is constantly a goal, but I shoot for the act of shooting. I see light and I must capture it.
What about you? What do you do when you lost that passion and can't find your photo mojo?
Film photographer Staci Lee Kennelly lives in Los Angeles. She is most happy when she has two film cameras slung around her shoulders and a Metro day pass in her pocket. She likes her cameras old, her shoes comfortable and her whiskey neat. See more of her work on her website, on Instagram, and on Twitter.