We have a lot of snow in Philadelphia right now. Mounds of snow piled high on the sidewalks, blocking street corners and taking up precious parking spaces. In the week since the blizzard, the bulk of it has slowly melted from two feet to just a few inches across most of the ground, but everywhere you look, those piles stubbornly remain.
A few weeks ago, I talked about how I’ve begun making space in my life – and my photography – by cleaning up and clearing out several aspects of my life: meditation for my mind, yoga for my body, intention setting for my life and business, while tidying up my physical space by releasing unnecessary clutter. I’m happy to share that I’m still going strong. I’ve meditated for the past 31 days, practiced yoga every day but one, set my “life” goals in my workbook, and have cleared out my clothes, books and – by the end of today – my papers too! (Who is this woman?) And since the beginning of the year, I’ve walked my dog every day but two.
I see these urban hikes as another way to create space in my life. Block-by-block, I sort through jumbled thoughts, clearing out weighty matters as I think things through. But for the past week, the snow has hampered our walks as we cross through the maze of icy walls, rock salt and freezing-cold puddles lining our regular route, and we’ve found ourselves taking the path of least resistance around these hazards to keep our feet dry – and our paws chemical free – just to cross the street.
Over the past few years, my photography practice has been like this too. Before acquiring an iPod and then an iPhone, you would have found me traversing these streets with my DSLR – its heavy body bouncing against my side – as we climbed the hills of my neighborhood impulsively capturing photos along the way. But today, with its lighter body and mobile nature, my iPhone has become my camera of choice, not only for these walks, but also in my day-to-day life. I suspect that this has become the case for many of you, too.
It used to bother me, this path of least resistance that I’ve taken in my photography, but today, I see it as another way where I’ve intentionally lightened my load by opening up a new form of creativity with my efforts. You see, now that my camera has become my livelihood, giving myself a mental break from settings and lenses and gear feels like a vacation with less pressure to take the perfect shot.
I still have my “big” camera by my side much of the time, but I reach for it when inspiration strikes, and not because I feel obligated. Where have you released resistance in your photography? Has it opened up more space in your creativity too? Share with us in comments. I’d love to hear your story too.