I have a memory (the integrity of which I cannot fully vouch for) of a conversation I once overheard. A musician, a guitarist to be more specific, was telling a friend how his guitar had been stolen. He seemed rather depressed about it. He explained to his friend in a strong accent I could not identify, how he was still able to hear the music in his heart but for some reason, was unable to compose new melodies. It wasn’t just his guitar that had been stolen but his creativity as well. Or as he put it: “I feel incomplete. My wholeness is broken.”
At the time I would not have known what he was on about but in light of a recent event in my life—namely, the breaking of my camera—I now have an inkling of how he felt.
It’s been almost two months since I broke my camera. It went in for repairs but with the price coming back too high, broken it remains. And so it has been two months since I’ve made a photograph with that camera. I have taken a few shots with my phone and while they are fine as far as photos go, the experience of making them is not quite the same. When I hold my phone in my hand that is all I am doing; I am holding a phone, not a camera. Regardless of my immediate intent to take a photo, what I have in my hands is a phone. As such, there is something missing from the experience of going out shooting. Much like the young guitarist, without a camera in my hand, I feel incomplete.
But that’s not all.
As I walk around I still see the shots the way I always have but somehow the “photos” I see feel different. Almost like I am not seeing anything new or inspiring. It is difficult to explain but the word ‘melancholy’ comes to mind. I can’t help wonder if there is a causality link between this loss of creative inspiration and being without a camera. If this turned out to be the case than I would be a little incredulous as it is not something I would have predicted.
But wait, there is more.
This lack of inspiration, this feeling of melancholy extends even to writing. A bunch of posts are languishing in draft mode unable to be completed or even started in earnest for the simple lack of creative guidance.
Perhaps it is simply a coincidence. Perhaps it is merely the summer heat putting me in creative lethargy. A creative block much like a writer’s block. I don’t know. Maybe the link to our creative tools is stronger and more real than I imagined. Maybe when it comes to creativity, we are whole only with the right tool in hand.
Due to circumstances it may be a while before I can get another camera so it will be interesting to see if this melancholy, this loss of inspiration continues and whether a new camera fixes my… well, I guess I could say, my broken wholeness.