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Diary of a Photographer

August 14, 2011

A few years ago, when I realized that photography was something I should really do, I was so happy and peaceful, it was a moment of pure epiphany. I simply knew: “that’s it”. 

At that point I still had very cheap and humble equipment, but I remember I was photographing every single day. I photographed everything: mostly street, people, subjects in my apartment, my clothes… I was experimenting like mad. It’s very hard to believe, but I think I even made a few cheesy flower shots and some landscapes.

Suddenly, everything had become so beautiful and worth photographing. I felt like I gained a third eye and it seemed to me that I was blind before I started photographing.  Even those photos weren’t perfect (I tended to do not so perfect frames, because of low quality equipment and many of my photos were full of noise, etc.). I have to say it was an amazing way of self-discovery and during that period I made some of my best personal work and many self-portraits that many people, even today, remember as some of my best work.

Photography by Milica Tepavac

"The Creation"

Street photography by Milica Tepavac

"News Junkies"

Street photography-Paris

"3 Ways"

That’s maybe the most beautiful phase for every photographer. And at that point, when our passion is on the top, when we see how we improve every day, we start making really good photos, and something weird starts happening:

1. People’s perception of you starts to change.

2. The Photographer becomes very greedy and gets occupied with technical stuff and equipment.

3. We want to become “professional”, which means we want to make money from our photography and start living from it. It’s one of the most guaranteed ways how to lose yourself.

4. No inspiration.

5. Awakening

This is the phase in the life of every photographer that I call “devil phase”.

1. Perception

One of the crazy things that starts happening is that even your best friends start perceiving you only as a photographer, like they all lost their minds and forgot who are you as a person.

Every time (or almost every time) when you’re supposed to see your friends , before you leave your house it’s very possible you’ll get one more call or SMS, just to remind you “bring your camera”.

The Photographer starts feeling terrible pressure, it’s literally like you’re getting an anxiety attack.

I felt like people started to command me — when I’m going to photograph and who I’m going to photograph.

They started telling me their weirdest desires, how they want to be photographed. Trust me, I’ve heard so many crazy stories, so many people suddenly got the desire to be naked in front of me, so many women wanted to look like the most sexiest and beautiful woman in front of my camera, people who would come to my parent’s house usually alone, suddenly would start bringing their kids–  just in a case “I was in the mood” to take photographs of their children.

Photographers start feeling like they’re losing control. Every time when human being loses control, it starts a mess.

The mind becomes restless, the body is lazy. This is one of the reasons why we don’t photograph so much anymore.

Selfportrait

From The Top of The Lungs (Selfportrait)

2. When the 7 Deadly Sins are Knocking on Your Door and Greed is a Leader

This is part of the “devil phase” when photographers easily forget why and how they started doing photography in the first place.

Because our mind is already so messed up, we truly start believing that playtime is over and it’s time to get serious. Serious in our world means: full frame camera, at least f2.8 lenses, lightening equipment and a list of wish-items that seemingly never ends.

Then we spend so much money on our new, high quality fancy equipment that we become so sensitive. We become afraid that something will happen to our equipment and we become highly paranoid: maybe I’ll break the lens, maybe will dust get in the sensor, oh and maybe someone will steal the camera?

Not only that, we go much further. Our new equipment is surprisingly heavy. If we want to shoot street and subject that is far away, we have to change the lens, probably to our long tele-zoom (very heavy) — and that means pain, new trouble, possible dust in the sensor and it’s just too heavy to wear all that, especially if you’re woman, like me.

You cannot put your full body camera and tele zoom in your purse. You start being so nostalgic and pathetic “where are those good days when I had only my poor prosumer camera FujiS5700?”. Seriously, it’s so pathetic that we seriously say: “God, please help me”. Then, we start photographing only when someone hires us to shoot their children’s birthday, weddings, portraits, etc. Of course, preferably on some safe place, ideally in our own studio.

3. Professionalism

Being a professional photographer can be as bad as being employed with a corporation. You’re highly responsible for everything that is going on that day when you photograph and most of the time you shoot something you don’t really enjoy so much.

You’re torn between client’s desires and your artistic expression.  They hire you because you’re talented and because they like your work, but in a very sophisticated way they are telling you what you’re expected to do. Therefore, don’t go too wild and be only artist, stay professional. It’s not all so bad, but this is the phase where you learn so much about yourself, life, responsibility and compromise.

4. Lack of  Inspiration & Passion

In this phase, we are already too arrogant, proud and too harsh to ourselves. Because we are so serious and professional, we don’t allow ourselves to make “ordinary” photos anymore. Every next photo must be better than previous one. Everything we do must be special and we forget that things around us that we were photographing in the beginning should be our inspiration again.

We are professional and our clients get guaranteed quality photos, but for a long time we haven’t done anything for our personal collection and maybe future solo exhibition. This phase, influenced by many other factors that already happened makes us blind again. It’s very confusing stage.

You realize that you made so many mistakes and you want to fix things. You even start wearing your camera again in most situations, but every click you do (for your private collection) simply doesn’t have so much soul — like shots in the past, and you easily delete that photo. You try and try, but something is missing. What is missing: is us.

We managed to disconnect, go blind, to take things for granted and become slaves to the routine. I guess this can be compared to many marriages and long lasting relationships. It’s truly ironic, isn’t it? In most of the countries, people have free will to choose their partners and as I know, in this country people get married because they found the love of their life, because they were deeply in love, enthusiastic about their future.

Yet, somehow, after a few years and routine it simply happens that you become blind, you don’t see beauty in your partner like you use to. You just take things for granted. In combination with all the stress in your life, economic crisis, bank loans, jobs, kids who are screaming and always wanting something , you just start feeling lonely and lost and you think how you don’t have control over your life anymore and many people make huge mistakes.

Well, I have news for all of us, it’s time to wake up! It’s your life and your photography!

5. Awakening

I’m going to leave this chapter for you to finish.

After long periods of my own crisis, I decided to wake up. I’ve cleared space in my head so I can see again. It’s a magnificent feeling.

It will take some practice to get back to my old, good stage, but I can feel it coming again.

Today is my magic day, one more in a row. I woke up next to the love of my life and I got a huge desire to photograph him (he really doesn’t like being photographed, sometimes I feel so sorry for him because he lives with a photographer).

Surprisingly, I really didn’t care about technical quality. I didn’t ask myself: will anyone press the “like” button on Facebook.  After all, this is just a diary of a photographer. And diary is document of our life. I live my life with a person I love and I do a job that I love.

Photography by Milica Tepavac

"It is time for love"

part of series "Life of Brian"

Photography by Milica Tepavac

every day life with Brian

"To do list"

"Walker"

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. August 14, 2011 11:35 pm

    you take amazing pictures.. 😀

  2. Milica Tepavac Photography permalink
    August 14, 2011 11:37 pm

    Thanks Chica!:-)

  3. August 15, 2011 12:24 am

    You’re pretty talented!

    -MTO

  4. August 15, 2011 11:55 am

    The next time, when feeling blue, lost or just need something to get a grip on, just return to this post and read the last sentence of it. You’ve said it all and that is what you lacked during the times when you questioned yourself and your work.

    Now go girl.. get ’em! You’re well worth of it.. just enjoy the life as you live it, do what you love, with the one that you love.

  5. Milica Tepavac Photography permalink
    August 15, 2011 12:34 pm

    Dear Vladimir, you’ve always been a Saint among photographers!:-) Thanks you!
    Thank you “Mrs.This One”!

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