Summer challenged my mental health. And the things I typically do to maintain a sense of wellness did not provide much comfort. Because of the state of mind I was in (and still am, but to a lesser extent), I didn't ask myself deep questions about photo culture, I didn't write blogs, I didn't focus on collaborations, I didn't post on Instagram, and I didn't pick up my DSLR... not even once!
I also didn't try to talk myself out of feeling the way I did, even though it was mostly sadness, grief, lethargy, loneliness, and hopelessness. Instead, I opened myself up to the feelings, I held my battered heart with fierce tenderness, I rested as much as I needed, and I sought out extra support, including support from professionals.
In all honesty, photography only brought me joy on one occasion this summer, which I am sharing here as a visual portrayal of my emotions. These images were made with a pocket-sized Lumix DCZS80. I am extremely thankful for the ease and weightlessness of this tiny camera. If my nature photography practice taught me anything this summer, it's that sometimes what I need is a lighter load.
On the topic of rest, the crucial work being done by The Nap Ministry comes to mind. More than napping, their movement is rooted in a "framework of liberation, Afro futurism, somatics, cultural trauma of Jim Crow survivors, community organizing and radical self care." Their work offers a future outside of white supremacy and capitalism. You can find articles, blogs, events, and podcast episodes through their Instagram page.
Reflections for Fall:
What can you do to lighten your load?
How do you use imagery to communicate emotions?
Enjoy the contents of this letter in whichever way best nourishes your life and photo practice and
be on the lookout for your Winter Solstice nature-love letter, which will be delivered to your inbox December 21st, 2021.
Until then, hope you have a beauty-filled Fall!