How lockdown helped me in becoming a better photographer

After two (three? four?) months spent at home literally locked down, without going out for weeks and weeks, receiving food and essential goods directly at our place, it was finally the time to go out.

We were only allowed to have a walk in our neighbourhood and nothing more, so I decided to take my beloved Fuji XT100 with me.

Bored and depressed by the smallness of my caged universe I decided to start shooting random things around me. Cyberpunk alleys and Japanese crisp mornings were only a far, faded memory in my brain. All my source of inspiration and the possibility to capture extraordinary things such as neons, urban nightscapes and city life were (and still are) just a reminiscence of a distant and forgotten world.

Once upon a time I had time and places to get inspired and what moved my desire to take photos was mainly the possibility to travel around the world.

For some reasons I found Milan (and the places I use to visit in my country) boring, flat and “without poetry”. But the laziness, the depressive feeling and this perception of living in a caged and very small world (where all the connections and the infinite possibilities that we used to live in the past are now shattered) helped me to focus on the ordinary and the beauty of the ephemeral.

So I started to taking photos focusing on simple things that usually surrounds me, exploring new styles and kinds of photography. I took tons of shot, and I learned A LOT. I believe that taking a huge amount of pics, aiming at quantity, is the best way to understand how photography works, your feelings about it, your sensations and of course your gear.

This belief was confirmed after I’ve read about one of the advice that Daido Moriyama gives to his students: shoot at least 140–150 photos on the same subject. At first glance, this seems crazy but now, I understand why.

I learned SO MANY things in this small period of time that I decided without any doubt for a camera upgrade (a Fujifilm XT30). But few months ago, this camera upgrade was pointless for me. You know: the right things at right time (our entirely existence is tied to the concept of time after all, and we cannot escape that truth — but this is for another time).
Moreover a camera upgrade few months ago was pointless for two main reasons:

  1. I was not skilled enough to appreciate and use wisely an advanced camera
  2. I lacked of purpose

There’s no escaping reason, no denying purpose, for as we both know, without purpose we would not exist. It is purpose that created us, purpose that connects us, purpose that pulls us, that guides us, that drives us; it is purpose that defines, purpose that binds us.

The Matrix Reloaded

But this kind of sensitivity to ephemera that I’m trying to develop while shooting ordinary things is also helping me in redefining and rediscovering my purpose. So I feel quite motivated. But I’m also aware that motivation is something that needs to be cultivated and coevolve with purpose itself.

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MattCarella photo

MattCarella photo

Taking pictures is a form of meaning creation.