The blog of photographer Kim Ayres

Understanding Photography with Kim Ayres – Episode 6 – Tiredness Dominates

It's very difficult to know how I come across from the outside.

It's perfectly possible no one else noticed anything amiss, but from the inside last night's video podcast was slower. I waffled a bit more, lost my train of thought more often, and was tripped up by the technology to a greater degree than in the past couple of weeks.

I also missed out an entire chunk I intended to talk about, where the original version of photo I was discussing – The Undefended Hour – actually had a bottle of Irn Bru in front of the mirror.

For those not in Scotland, Irn Bru is a bright orange, fizzy pop drink with a distinct love-or-hate flavour, and is famously known as a hangover cure.

There was a reason it was included in the original set up, and then another reason why I removed it in Photoshop afterwards. And both these reasons were very relevant to the section where I was talking about how each element in a photograph is either contributing to, or detracting from, the narrative you are trying to convey.

It was one of the key reasons I chose to use that particular photo for that episode.

And I totally forgot about it until 2 hours after I'd thanked everyone for watching and switched off the live stream.

Tiredness: it stops the brain functioning properly.

And I am so tired. Deep bone-weary tired.

This week is also ME/CFS Awareness Week, and each day on Facebook I'm sticking up something about what it is, and what it's like to live with the condition.

But the main thing to know is you have so much less energy than you used to. You are tired much of the time, and that tiredness effects your ability to think clearly (brain fog), and makes you more emotionally vulnerable.

Quite simply you do not have the physical, mental or emotional reserves, so the moment you overdo something, however slight, you become exhausted.

I've lived with this for at least 14 years and found/created all sorts of coping strategies, but there are never enough productive hours in the day.

Many people feel like that anyway. They really need 12 hours to do all the things they are expected to do in 8. But for me, it's more like only having 2 hours (carefully spread over 3 or 4 smaller sessions). On a good day that might be 3, but on a bad day it might be none at all.

And if I have an important thing to do that is going to really require me to push through, I will fuel up with more coffee, get it done, and then be wiped out for the following day or two.

Now somehow, with all this, I still have to make a living.

My strategy has been to become a high-end photographer so I can charge a higher rate for my skills and services. The idea is so I don't have to work more hours than I can in order to scrape a living. In essence I need to be able to make enough money in 2 hours that most people would make in one or two days.

The flaw in this plan is where do I find the time and energy to market myself and build up a reputation and client base?

But bit by bit I've been heading in the right direction.

And then Covid-19 hit, and my limited income disappeared overnight.

And somehow, as self employed creatives, we seem to have slipped through all the nets for financial assistance.

So I have to find another way to use my skills to try an generate an income.

I can't do photography, but I can explain it. I can teach it.

So, let's create a weekly video podcast and start building a reputation and a following, and then look to figure out a way how to monetise it.

Far from being a bit of time off work, or an extended holiday, or even business as usual, since Lockdown I've been much more in a business start-up mode, which requires huge amounts of mental energy.

And that's all on top of the fears, worries and concerns for our health, for people we know, for our communities, our country and humanity.

I've had to stop watching the Government daily updates on TV as I've now become someone who shouts at the telly in outrage at their imcomptence, spin and outright lies, which are literally killing more people (currently 2nd highest death rate in the world). And that seriously drains my energy.

Every day I have times of fatigue and exhaustion. It's part of the daily routine.

But now I feel an even deeper level of bone weariness.

Even within my limited capacity, I've been overdoing it again for too long, and it's catching up with me.

I still have 10,000 things I need to do, but even if I strictly prioritise them, it only reduces them to about 2,000 things...

And I felt it last night as I was doing the video podcast.

And I really felt it last night after the video podcast.

And I completely feel it this morning, while knowing I don't have that much time I can take off.

So I'm going to stop now and sit quietly.

And then I'll have a coffee and be raring to go for an hour... hopefully.

Episode 6 is now edited, uploaded and embedded onto this blog.

Can you tell the difference, or did I conceal it well enough?

0:00 - Introduction - what's coming up
1:05 - Photo of my daughter appearing on the cover of the latest D&G Life Magazine
2:18 - The story behind the image, The Undefended Hour
21:00 - When excitement turns to fear
24:05 - Do all the elements of the photo contribute to the story, or detract from them?
36:30 - Response to FB comments
39:53 - Critiques of submitted photos
1:16:25 - Coming up next week

If you've not done so already, please subscribe to my YouTube channel - – to help me build the numbers.

And, or course, if you would like to submit a photo for feedback, or just ask a photography related question, then do join my Understanding Photography with Kim Ayres Facebook group and I will put it into the following podcast:


Pat said...

Anyone who can speak their own words to camera for an hour whilst demonstrating techniques at the same time is bloody brilliant. Don't be so hard on yourself. You are a star!

Kim Ayres said...

Pat - you're lovely! Thank you :)

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