Overcome boredom 2

I have the impression of reliving what I have already experienced in Aix-en-Provence. Something like déja vu … I started to see boredom coming last month. When you find it hard to motivate yourself to go out and take pictures because your eyes can’t see anything anymore and you feel that the streets are boring to death and you only have one desire, to escape, to go elsewhere because that it is well known: the grass is greener elsewhere. I had already experienced this in Aix-en-Provence when I started Street Photography. I went regularly to Marseille, the big city next door, for a little exoticism and rediscover the pleasure of taking photos.

As you can imagine, I quickly got bored of Marseille. Well, not really from the city, but to take the road to take pictures. In the end, after spending more than four years documenting the streets of Aix, it is obvious that the boredom had nothing to do with Aix, but rather came from me. I think that it must be part of the process of appropriating a city when you do Street Photography. That’s what I feel right now in the streets of Saint-Denis. I don’t have a lot of fun and it shows in my work. My eyes are lazy and I am no longer attentive when I walk in the streets.

So how do you overcome boredom? How to rediscover the pleasure of taking photos? If I had the answers to this problem, it would be too simple … I read a few photo books. All these photos taken in big cities or in exotic places only depressed me even more. I’m complaining, but some people wish they could just get out of their homes. The current pandemic is forcing many people to stay at home. Here on Reunion Island, no curfew nor confinement light. The virus is not very active and we continue to live with a semblance of normality (masks, barrier gestures). Enough to allow me to do Street Photography in complete freedom, but no, it’s in the head that it happens and my brain and my eyes must be confined …

To try different things, I thought to myself that changing my camera might allow me to see things differently and re-motivate me. It is well known to people with GAS (Gear Acquisition Syndrom) that it is THE solution to all problems! A new camera and here we go! Okay, I can reassure you right away, I haven’t invested a single cent in a new toy. I just opened my cupboards and pulled out my old Ricoh GR. The one who has a 16 MP APS-C sensor and who has the annoying habit of catching the slightest dust lying around. Moreover, I had used it for less than 2 days since I realized that I had like a big hair on my sensor. Greaaaat!

Well that did not discourage me even if it was rather badly placed (in the middle of the sensor …). I had to change something, so I would do with it. And there, I rediscovered Street Photography, my eyes which could no longer see anything, finally opened and I made incredible photos with the GR. My creativity has been multiplied by 1000! Ok I’m doing too much here? How am I not credible? Isn’t that what the manufacturers promise us by trying to sell us their last wad of thousand euros junk? With their increasingly powerful cameras, soon we will be able to take night photos without the slightest noise!

So no, switching to the Ricoh GR hasn’t changed anything at all. I feel like I lost my Mojo. The children’s holidays come at the right time. I’m going to spend the next few weeks going to the beaches instead and going on little trips with them. As with all school holidays, this will be an opportunity for me to recharge my batteries and to do Street Photography differently. Moreover, as the effect of the GR is rather zero on my creativity, I will perhaps dust off my Fuji XE2.

All the photos were made with the Ricoh GR.

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2 thoughts on “Overcome boredom

  • John Harper

    We all need a holiday Jeff, even from Street. Here’s a note I made for a possible future blog about a couple of your countrymen:
    “Eugène Atget and Robert Doisneau – Both made their reputations by staying at home, focussing on a single subject, a particular place with which they became completely identified”.
    That’s what they did and I think you have. They didn’t buy a new camera every five minutes, I strongly suspect that they took a break now and then though. Of course Paris is a much larger proposition for a Street Photographer than Saint- Denis or Aix or Bath, still possible to get tired of it wherever you are.
    Anyway I noticed a photo of you Gwen had posted from the beach. You were in the background, camera in your hands and unconsciously those hands were forming a heart!

    • Jeff Chane-Mouye Post author

      Ah ah. Didn’t know about this photo. Indeed a heart shaped for the ricoh gr! I should send that to Pentax. They would made be ambassador for the rest of my life!
      Boredom is killing me and I want this yay to end quickly. But I guess that 2021 will be the same. Some holidays are needed as you said. Just to refresh my head and mind. A lot happened this year and time to digest all of that.