The summer holidays have officially started for many and there's a sense of school's out for me as I near the last workshop before a summer break. Yet the Back to School marketing campaigns have already kicked in in earnest - only this morning I had a themed mail shot from a photography site. It seems every time we reach a date in a calendar, a stage in our projects or life we are already encouraged to start thinking about what's next (don't get me started on how early we will see Christmas stuff in the shops!). Often that seems like we are wishing our lives away!
Whilst there is nothing wrong in being prepared and planning, part of me fears that leads to not stopping and enjoying that moment, that achievement enough, not pausing for breath and switching off the treadmill. My son is awaiting his GCSE results but it's already more about the next stage and the one after that. I know that when the day comes regardless of the outcome I will be making sure we also hit pause.
August is usually, for me, a month of review and planning for the next season as well as having some holiday fun. This year is no different but I have a different thought process about it all. I have been really excited about the way my new programme, Develop Camera Confidence, has been going so far this year and that has spurred me on to develop other ideas for different ways to engage with those wanting to learn more about photography. I am 'going back to school' early to research materials for these new projects, to learn about the technology to deliver them, to develop new skills and to get new inspiration. And that's a lot of work so I also need to make sure I hit the 'Pause' button. Quiet moments and reflection are just as important in terms of recharging my batteries and feeding my creativity.
I have the usual pile of books to read over the summer for entertainment but added this year are books to stretch my thinking about my chosen field in areas that I have become increasingly fascinated in this year and which I have blogged about already - the importance of creativity and learning for mental wellbeing as well as creativity. And a great excuse for getting a new notebook and pen....
In my stack (thank goodness for my Kindle reducing the weight of what I want to take with me!)
Currently reading and really enjoying: My Grandmother Sends Her Regards and Apologises by Fredrik Backman (I also really recommend A Man Called Ove by the same author)
Then it will be:
Alone in Berlin by Hans Fallada (my book group's choice - I love how being in a group like this makes you read books sometimes you would not have found or chosen.)
Saving one of my favourite magazines, The Simple Things, for some quiet solitary moments too.
Stretching my brain with:
InGenius: A crash course on creativity by Tina Seelig
The Practice of Contemplative Photography by Andy Karr and Michael Wood
What are you reading I wonder?
And in a change from shooting still life and things that fit on a tabletop I shall be shooting, weather (and family) permitting, larger subjects as I visit Cornwall for the first time in far too long. It will be good to go back to my ancestral roots and see what inspires me!
Wishing you all time this summer to have fun, work hard, read books, enjoy life and pause........