It's an old trick that my mind likes to play on me. Whatever I do, even if I feel like I did a good job, it always comes to whisper: "you could have done much better than that".
I'm taking a break. Not because I'm burnt out but because I want to listen to that whisper. I want to know if I can do better, I want to find my limits, I want to know myself better.
For the next 16 days -when I have my next photography trip- I will be focusing on those areas that I've been neglecting: self-care, reflection and study.
Last June and after moving overseas, I found myself overweight and completely out of shape. I was eating compulsively and my energy levels were very, very low.
I went on a very strict diet and lost over 30 pounds in 3 months. I also exercised and ran a 5k for the first time in my life. Not only did I have physical energy but I felt great mentally.
Unfortunately, I didn’t take proper care of myself during these last few months as I’ve gained some of those pounds back. I stopped exercising as well.
I’m back on a diet, but this time I’m experimenting a bit more with my body. I want to know where my limits are and what works and what doesn't for me.
These are the things I'm trying:
- Intermittent fasting. I've been fasting for an average of 18 hours per day. Sometimes it's 16 hours, sometimes it's 20. That basically means I'm skipping breakfast and fitting lunch and dinner within a narrow window of 4 to 6 hours.
- Cold showers. I've always loved my hot showers in almost boiling, burning water. I do feel a bit lethargic afterwards so I wanted to give cold showers a try. This is by far the hardest thing I'm doing: it's a shock to the system.
- Diet. Eating less but also reducing my carbohydrate ingestion to a minimum: no bread, no pasta, no rice, no alcohol.
- Meditation. I'm taking a few minutes every day to sit down and let my mind roam free.
I'm finally taking the time to sit down and study the greats that came before us. Not just photography but also ancient philosophy (western and oriental).
I just finished On the Shortness of Life by Seneca and I'm really impressed by his writing. Far from feeling foreign to someone who was born 2,000 years after him, it was some of the best writing I've ever read. I can't wait to get my hands on more of his work.
Currently, I'm reading more about the Stoics and also Susan Sontag's On Photography.
I'm also studying some of my favorite images by my favorite photographers.
After months of making images and taking no time to go through them, I find that some reflection on that work is necessary.
Looking at all the images I made during these last few months gives me a clearer picture of what they mean to me and where I want to go from here.
I'm organizing them in projects: France, Portugal, Galicia. I'm also working on an old and almost forgotten project, American Landscapes, one that I'm really excited about.
I believe that taking care of oneself is very important and usually overlooked. This is something that was long overdue and I'm glad I finally found the time to do it.
So for the first time in months, my cameras aren't getting any use and my mind is free to think about anything but creating new images.
In 16 days, though, I will be completely devoted to making photographs again!