4 min read

How do I know I’m a photographer?

Am I a photographer because I want to be or because my brain wants dopamine?
A Strawberry super moon rises to the right of the Liverpool skyline.

hello camera

This week’s photos are from the recent Strawberry Supermoon.

You can get prints of the photos in this weeks newsletter on my print store or you can tip me on Ko-Fi so I can buy film for my camera.


How do I know I’m a photographer?

I’ve been thinking a lot about interests recently. About a week ago I was swimming every day and loving it so much I impulse bought a near £400 GoPro to take photos in the water. It’s been 5 days since my last swim and all that passion has vanished. It’s gone somewhere. I have no idea where but it’s gone somewhere. Yesterday I almost had to remind myself that I enjoy swimming. If I saw someone swimming I’d want to take part but distract me from the activity long enough and I forget about it completely.

They say habits are formed over 30 days. I’m not sure that’s true for me. I’ve been streaming on twitch 4 times a week for over a year now. For various reasons I’ve taken a break. My brain isn’t telling me to jump back in every 10 minutes. Like swimming I’ll forget it’s a thing I do unless I see others doing it and get some warped version of FOMO.

In the ADHD world there’s a thing called Object Permanence. Most articles are written about children so it’s hard to fully understand this issue. Basically if you hide something from a child they forget it exists until they see it again. This sort of fits my issue but everything I’ve read discusses objects not interests.

Which brings me on to how I know I’m a photographer. I’ve never had to remind myself to take a camera out. I’m always taking one and always taking photos. That said, is my photography purely based on a response to seeing something? I don’t go out seeking new landscapes, or cities to photograph but I will if I’m there. My brain forgets what’s outside unless I drag it out and show it something to photograph. Instinct and interest kick in producing photos. Maybe this is why I can never finish my portfolio. I can’t answer the question of what kind of photography I like because my brain “forgets” and only springs to life when presented with something interesting.

I have no idea what this ability / disability is. I have been wondering whether there’s a way to harness it. What if my twitter feed was only xx thing would I only do that? Often if I go to an exhibition I come out wanting to be that style of photographer. My processing style changes and I want to do a project like the one I just saw. Until something new distracts me and I forget all about it. How can I draw inspiration from something without it totally taking over my brain only to forget about it next week and be distracted by something else shiny?

Maybe my best use of this dis/ability is to never stop exploring? Keep moving, finding new things to make my brain go “Oh! OH!!” and take new photos. The only issue there is when do I edit the photos? My brain is always wanting new things to perhaps trigger dopamine hits. I’ve got hundreds of photos to sort and I’ve given up trying to use Instagram because my brain is distracted by new things and forgets everything else.

I know I’m a photographer or at least I know I use my camera as a way to twist this dis/ability to my whim. It’s when I stop exploring and being a photographer that causes problems. I’m like a shark. If I stop swimming I die. There’s no middle ground.

This post is for subscribers only