Change happens. It’s all around us, all the time. Just look over the past year. Last year around this time, things were relatively normal for most of us. And now? The pandemic has completely upended some people’s lives and changed the world in many ways.
That’s an extreme example of change, but there are many more. Change happens on the micro scale—like dealing with a rained-out photography trip or learning a new piece of equipment. It also happens on the macro scale with things like the loss of loved ones, and so on.
Why am I talking about change? Well, it’s early in the new year yet, and for many of us, we’re still making goals and looking back on last year’s goals to see what we’ve accomplished in our photography. And again, as we’ve all learned over the course of the past year, change can be big enough to deflect our goals. So how does that affect our photography?
For some of us, perhaps our goals and plans shifted. I’m sure that more than a few of us ended up canceling photography trips, for example. Maybe for others, the changes to the world this past year signaled a change in the things we photographed. Certainly, the world around us changed and became a different place, so it is logical that we would adapt to the times and photograph different things.
That’s the key to remember, I think. A year can change so much that it can fundamentally change the photography goals we made at the start of the year. Perhaps your goals at the start of 2020 were to take more nature photographs, but by October, you found yourself documenting different subjects.
As a thought exercise, wouldn’t it be interesting to make a list of your large-scale goals at the beginning of the year? This would include the prominent themes you want to focus on, or the techniques you want to learn, the major photography trips you want to go on. Not the small things, like taking a single photograph of something or an impromptu weekend outing. And the idea is not so much to make yourself adhere to those goals because there is nothing wrong with shifting goals partway through the year.
Still, I think it could be valuable to look back over the year, look at the list of photography goals that we started with, and just see what changed by the end of the year. Were we able to embrace change and roll with whatever happened? Or, perhaps life interfering with your goals caused a serious slowdown of your photography. Perhaps you’re someone who stubbornly pursues goals no matter what.
There’s nothing wrong with any of these approaches. It’s just a bit of self-examination that helps us to learn more about our photography and how we handle change. And that’s an important thing to know about ourselves since change is inevitable.