“Our industry has gone through so much change since I began my degree in the mid 80’s, but I don’t know if I’ve seen as much uncertainty as this.”
Words by Sally Brownbill of The Brownbill Effect
Photos by Annette Ruzicka and Ingvar Kenne
The move to digital was a seismic shift in our industry and very challenging for all of us. It’s probably hard to believe the impact it had now and I wonder if this pandemic will recede into memory just as quickly.
In 2020, when COVID19 first opened the ground under us, I worked with many photographers who made the decision to swim rather than sink. We re-worked folios and websites. Many started working on personal projects they could share on social media, others planned for exhibitions. It became the perfect time to get everything in order and think about the kind of photographer they wanted to be. My point is, there is always something you can do to further your career and enhance your opportunities, even if they’re not knocking the door down just yet.
The hardest thing is dealing with the stop-start nature of getting back on our feet. If it’s possible, try to put a strategy in place for events like sudden lockdowns and the effect they have on deadlines. In the meantime work on your confidence and optimism for the future.
I appreciate these wise words from award winning photographer, Annette Ruzicka.
“I think two things are key; stay authentic to yourself, who you are and what your purpose is in photography i.e. why you shoot. Then seize on that authenticity and uniqueness to adjust to changes in a very uncertain world.”
© Annette Ruzicka
Annette changed careers later in life so she’s no stranger to adapting to new directions but as she also mentioned, it is human nature to resist change, we don’t like the uncertainty of it. Especially when change represents a massive shift in what’s possible.
As I mentioned in the beginning, photography is constantly changing. We must have the resilience to return to the truth of it – there is only one you, with your view of the world. No one else can offer what you do. No one else has your style of creative expression. Understand and celebrate that. Lots of other people will be before you know it.
© Annette Ruzicka
The brilliant and influential photographer Ingvar Kenne continues to take change in his stride.
“As a photographer I feel like change is part of the game”, he told me. “I found the only way I can handle change around me, is to return to the essential – taking photographs.”
For Ingvar, this is the one constant and his release from outside pressure.
“The act of image making is crucial to me” he added, “ in order to continue having a conversation with what I choose to do.”
© Ingvar Kenne
Having confidence in your own ability can play an important part in developing resilience. Try not to let those negative comments build a home in your head and if they do, practice replacing them with positive ones. I’m a great believer in the ability to bend when you must. We need to be strong and determined but we also need that capacity to take everything as it comes. Look at each situation individually, think your way through, plan well and execute your photography with strength and conviction.
© Ingvar Kenne
Everyone can learn how to boost their ability to cope, thrive and flourish when the going gets tough. That’s the good news. But you can’t do it when you’re drained and your mental and physical energy is low. Take good care of yourself during times of change. Manage your stress. Learn some habits and strategies that build hardiness and it then becomes easier to be optimistic about the future. It’s important to look at what’s in front of us and not be fearful of the future. We only know what’s here right now, not what might happen, so be confident you’ll learn, adapt and be prepared to embrace whatever opportunities come your way.
Annette Ruzicka shares how she found her way through.
“I considered my purpose and what I could give clients that others couldn’t. I upskilled, undertook a mentorship and dove into my archives. Knowing you have something unique to offer helps you adapt to change, grow a business and enhances who you are as an artist.”