As many of you may know, I’ve spent the last month (and hopefully the coldest one) away in tropical Singapore, a city that I used to live in for the last three years. Whilst I have always been a little critical of people that complain about not being able to post on holiday, a series of events have finally made me see the other side of blogging. It began with going abroad with a faulty laptop, I knew that it was failing but didn’t have time to get it fixed at the Apple store in London or in Hong Kong. Once I got to Singapore, it full on decided to die on me (I’d like to insert the blue to yellow scream face emoji here). Next, my iPhone 6+ was swiped from my bag in the ladies’ loo of a suburban shopping mall. From having to edit photos and write posts, essentially mobile blogging whilst my laptop was away for repair, I now had nothing. And oh yes, iCloud wasn’t backing anything up because it was full.
I basically cried for half an hour and was near a state of depressed for the 24 hours after the phone was taken. I mean like I was talking to myself and my family thought it was so weird – that kind of miserable. So much work had been lost and although I was able to recover some edited photos, I became incredibly unmotivated. I had done all the shoots that I had planned to do when I thought I was staying in Asia for two and a half weeks. Everything except from socialising had been a kind of check list that was now completed. I was staying an extra fortnight to chill with my friends and fur kids, but I just couldn’t relax. Despite that I was hanging out with such like-minded and creative people, I simply felt indifferent to everything. It was very much a ‘see how it goes’ attitude to photos and concepts, and if someone didn’t turn out to be free, I’d be totally okay with that.
Then I had to ask myself, why? I had been on a accelerated drive back in the UK that trickled through all my travel plans and allowed me to diversify my style and ideas. My previously motivated self meant that my trip to Japan pushed me to edit in different ways. It showed me that my audience was receptive to it, even though it was so different from my clean, bright usual style. Hong Kong inspired me to try different types of photos and see the city as a backdrop to a story that was waiting to be told. The ground work, perspective and preparation I had back in the UK paid off, until now.
The reason I could come up with as to why I was apathetic towards anything blogging related in Singapore was that you just can’t thrive everywhere. Metaphorically, I had mined all I could from my two weeks there, and any more time I spent pressurising myself to do better than the last shoot when I had been fully invested was futile. There’s a reason some of my friends go to Switzerland and produce breathtaking photos and why when I go I’ll offer up a couple street style shots that I don’t feel much passion for (and a lot of them don’t make it to this blog). It’s why some people go on beach holidays and you wonder if they forgot that they’re a fashion blogger because you see a ton of beach and swimwear snaps and none of the sophisticated lifestyle shots they had before. It could also explain why when I’m back in London I see shoot potential in almost every street and in most weather conditions, yet some people find it too stale and cold, and would rather post snaps of cute streets and cafes.
The pressure I had felt also came from believing that I had a duty to fulfil to ‘Instagram’, and I use quotes because it does seem to be this entity that is part of us and we contribute to it, yet it is far greater and mysterious than we would like to admit. In a way, this can be a positive factor, I love seeing how responses vary to my work, especially when I collaborate with my artistic friends and sometimes I’m pleasantly surprised when something does wildly better than expected.
In this case however, it made me feel stifled. I was torn between creating something for the sake of it (even though I have enough quality content to post for a month, even if I were to post daily) and creating to satisfy a vision. I don’t ever want to be officially considered an ‘influencer’ before a writer, stylist or illustrator. So, instead of giving into that pressure and producing work that I’ll look back on and think, ‘wow that’s a waste of space and my audience’s time’, I’d rather sit back, breathe and let my ‘old’ work speak for me. After all, that’s why I worked so hard to produce so much in just a few weeks. So for those of you who went on holiday and genuinely felt uninspired to create, I kind of understand you now!
Photos by Jae, @jaegenn
Blitz Remix shirt dress (from Blitz London)
Lack of Color hat