Photography Compulsion Syndrome

August 29, 2013  •  Leave a Comment


I FINALLY FIGURED IT OUT!!!  I have been monitoring my symptoms for years and just came across the name of what ales me.  I have what most call PCS or Photography Compulsion Syndrome.   In a recent article written by Darlene Hildebrandt she explains in detail, the disease I have been plagued with. :)   Continue reading, it explains everything. 

 

“Photography Compulsion Syndrome” – tell me if you can relate to any of the following scenarios:

  • when traveling you’ve raced around at dusk, narrowly escaping a speeding ticket, trying to find the best spot to shoot the sunset
  • you’ve skipped dinner, or left your friends having dessert, while you go outside in the rain cause there was a great shot you just had to get
  • you’ve been on travel tours and were constantly frustrated because they never gave you enough time at the great locations or stopped at the side of the road for the old broken down buildings or because the “light was amazing”
  • you’ve lost images due to a card failure, a lost memory card, or a hard drive problem and have cried for days
  • you’ve yelled “Stop the car I’m going to have a coronary if I don’t get this shot!” to your friend or significant other
  • you comment on the lighting in a movie and notice when they use a graduated filter on the sky to make daytime into night and your partner rolls his/her eyes at you
  • you have at least 8 photography apps on your smartphone

If you nodded your head in agreement and related to any of the above, you too may have . . .

 

Photography Compulsion Syndrome!

But don’t despair, there is help available!

So keep reading, and please share your photography compulsion stories in the comments below. Only by forming our own support group and sharing can we find the help we need to conquer this crippling problem.

The other way to look at this is by using the following phrase: “You know you’re a photographer when . . .”. I know you may not consider yourself a “photographer” but you do not need to be a professional to have this distinction.

It’s in the blood. You can’t help but live, breathe and sleep photography.

It’s about passion. It’s about what makes your heart beat a little bit faster.

It’s about being excited when you get that shot you’ve always wanted.

 

So if you feel all those things about photography, you ARE a photographer. Don’t listen to what anyone else says, or labels set out my society or other people. They’re just that, labels. Being a photographer is in the blood, and the more you do it, the more passionate you feel about it. I often feel privileged because I “see” the world differently than others. Honour that in yourself and just embrace it.

 

 

The Stories behind the Syndrome

Okay so truth be told all of those scenarios are real and actually happened to me, Jake Sleger.  This is how they went down in my own words and any resulting images.

 

#1 Chasing the elusive sunset

While out for a Sunday evening drive with my wife, we stumbled upon a park overlooking the bay of Green Bay.  We decided to park the car and explore this new area.  We sat at a picnic table and proceeded to get lost in the sunset and the beauty it created in front of us. I am constantly looking at the sky as the sun sets to see what cloud formations are happening.  From clear skies which make perfect gradients that range blue to orange and purple to a cloudy evening where the sky looks angry, this park has since become my favorite spot for photographing sunsets.

 

#2 Missed meals and lost sleep

This story starts with my wife again.  We are spending a romantic weekend in Munising, Michigan for our 1 year anniversary.  Munising is the home to Pictured Rocks National Park (highly recommend this to anyone who loves the beauty of nature).  Our hotel room is on the third floor of the hotel which is located high on a bluff overlooking Grande Island.  The first night there I was so excited that the sun was going to rise above the bluff opposite of us and the sunrise would be a sight to see.  That evening I set my alarm for 430am.  Let me tell you, I didnt need my alarm that morning, the anticipation was killing me.  I woke up making sure to stay quiet not to wake my bride. I stood on that balcony for 2 hours taking in that amazing sunrise, snapping pictures in between yawns.  As Darlene says, "Take the images, go the extra mile, leave no regrets behind."

 

#3 “Stop the car I’m going to have a coronary”

The same day as described in #1 is very fitting for this symptom.  Once we were out for a typical Sunday evening drive and while driving through a local scenic golf course, I spotted in the overgrown bushes a baby fox.  I immediately, without warning, slammed on the brakes causing my camera which was sitting on Emily's lap to hit the floor. Lets just say I got yelled at! :(   Anyway, I wrangled my camera off the floor of the car and brought it to my eye only to find the baby fox was scared away.  As we waited there for any sign of the little guy, we noticed there wasnt just one, but 3 of these balls of fur playing outside their hole they call home.  I was able to get a couple of pictures even though they had to be zoomed in at 300mm.  Dont mind the lack of focus, lets see you hold a camera still, while at full zoom, just after almost dying from stopping that quick!  :P  

 

 

So what do I do about this Photography Compulsion Syndrome?

Nothing! As far as I can tell it’s incurable. But it IS treatable by doing the following:

  • carrying my camera with me as often as possible so I never miss a shot, at the very least have my phone in my pocket always
  • photograph daily, the only treatment is frequent indulgence
  • look at other people’s photography, get inspired
  • share my compulsion with a friend, join a photowalk, camera club or take a workshop
  • get away from my every day scenery as often as possible, even if it just means taking a drive in the country, or visiting a neighbourhood in my own city I’ve never been to
  • share my images and stories with others with PCS, it will help relieve the anxiety

All in a little fun

I hope you realize this is all completely made up. There is no such syndrome, although it feels quite real sometimes. Are you as compulsive and compelled to take photographs as I am? Or am I completely off my rocker?

I’m just having a little fun at my own expense, and hopefully you can join in with me and share your stories. Tell me about the one(s) that got away. What image did you miss that broke your heart? Or better yet, show me the ones you’re proud of that DID work out and you went out of the way to get.

 

Best Regards!  Jake 


 


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