That time of year is fast approaching for myself. In fact the first loss I experienced due my health happened a year ago this week & I'm a month away from the most heart wrenching loss I had. After those two losses, the rest I experienced were like dominoes, one by one falling down, never to stand back up again. I felt helpless as I became more & more housebound.
Though I was determined I would get better & gain those losses back, it certainly at times, felt quite hopeless, like I'd lost everything I held dear & what made me who I am. I now realise that this thought, this focus on what I could no longer do, actually blinded me.
I have only now come to see that one thing I deemed as a casualty of my fading health, in fact wasn't. This love has always been there, it's just changed in what form & degree I now practise it. I feel like I have now "found" one of my losses & I'm beginning to fall in love with it all over again!
I can hear you all crying out: "What are you talking about?" "What have you found?"
From being a young child, I have always adored photographs & would spend hours looking through the many family albums we have. Once I was old enough, I got my own camera & I loved filling my role of film & then going off to the camera shop to get them developed. I would then spends hours looking at what I'd taken & being reminded of the memories. I think that's what I love about photography so much, you are capturing & freezing a moment & memory forever & I find that fascinating!
As the years went by I found I developed a more photographic eye & was always ready to capture the scenery, people & objects around me, I was "the girl with the camera". Once I became a computer nerd, I would get my photographs put on disks so I could have a go at doing edits, making them look better, playing with filters & cropping them.
I found I really enjoyed this side of photography as well & this developed even more when my mum very kindly gave me her Sony CyberShot DSLR.
Though it's classed as an old digital camera now & I have newer ones, I still have this camera (I will never get rid of it) & love it! I've taken some of my favourite shots with it.
Last year or so ago, I treated myself a Sony CyberShot Bridge Camera:
This camera, although not technically classed as a DSLR, is not far off the quality. It has some amazing filters build into it & these enable me to take black & white shots (so no major editing is needed) this was the camera I did my first photo shoot with, in July of last year (that was a struggle to get through & left me in bed for a number of days) & loved the shots I managed to get:
My mum kindly over a year ago now, treated me to my Canon Compact camera:
I have to say, since getting this one, it has been with me more places than my other two. Though I haven't often used this to take photographs as much as the others, it does produce very good photos when needed. This little compact was my trusty vlogging camera & was a well needed upgrade from using my old Nokia Lumia phone!
So basically everywhere I went, I would usually have my compact in my bag. If I was going somewhere special, I would grab my Bridge camera as well & would take every opportunity to get plenty of photographs. Then I would spend the next few days, barely moving from my laptop, checking over what I'd taken in more detail, editing or cropping when needed. My laptop basically has nothing but photographs on it!
However, all that began to change & slow down from August last year when I was diagnosed with M.E. As I gradually got worse, I found I couldn't get out as much to take photographs & I couldn't sit at my laptop for as long or have the concentration needed to do any sort of editing. I was no longer "the girl with the camera" & I felt a bit lost, feeling like I had no opportunity to take proper photographs anymore, no more being able to freeze moments in time. I would still grab my camera at times & photograph my cats; McKay is a dream to photograph, as he poses! Dex, however, gets bored quickly & walks off!
Then through the worse times dealing with my illness, I discovered Instagram! This social media site was right up my street! I was able to look at people's wonderful photographs (I hit the explore symbol & can get lost for a very long time!) & have the opportunity to capture & post my own. This slowly began to kick start my photograph taking again, with the added bonus of making a few wonderful treasured friends along the way!
Really I should have realised that I hadn't lost photography to M.E at this point. But I think the reason I didn't was also down to the fact that when taking photographs for Instagram, my camera equipment wasn't my usual tools for the job. Instead of my Bridge, DSLR, or Compact cameras, I was now using my iPad Air, my Nokia Lumia & since April this year, my iPhone 5s, which I have to say can take some beautiful photographs!
Sometimes, I post some of my old photographs but most of the time, they are simply shots of my life contained within the four walls of my house. I didn't always give much thought to how the shot would look, I'd just take it & if I wasn't happy, I'd take it again until I got the shot I wanted, especially when it comes to rare selfies.
Over the past few weeks, however, I've noticed I have begun to get back my photographic eye (I'm not professing to be an expert, I let my photographs speak for themselves, I'm my biggest critic!) & I'm now taking as much care over a shot using my iPhone, as I did with my proper cameras. This is when I started to realise that I'd found one of my losses again, regained the ability to capture & freeze moments in time. This has made me feel a bit more like me & I'm incredibly happy about that, as I haven't felt like myself for a very long time.
Losses can make you lose sight on what you can still do. Sometimes the things we can still do have to adapt to still be in our lives & this can also mean that you may not recognise them at first, as was the case with me. I might not be able to practise my love to the full extent as I use too now, but I am still able to do it in my small way & am back in my happy place!
So, although it's hard when you've lost so much because of this horrible illness, please try & focus more on what you can do & you may be happily surprised by what you find again. Just as I was!
I think it is fitting to leave you all with the words of Ed Sheeran from his beautiful song "Photograph"
"...We keep this love in a Photograph,
We made these memories for ourselves
Where our eyes are never closingHearts are never broken
And time's forever frozen still..."
Oh & feel free to stalk me on Instagram: @LoSheps
My Photography Portfolio: Lo Photo