I had been going back to the downtown office for two months now, but it was only this past Friday when, for the first time, I actually took a lunch break and ventured outside our building.
Life in Chicago is slowly waking up and people are going into the streets in much larger numbers. What helped a great deal was the fact that this weekend was Lollapalooza concert in Chicago’s Grant Park (pre-pandemic, this multi-day event would draw 2+ million concert-goers). The crowd heading to the lakeshore was obviously much smaller, but still a decent showing.
I am so grateful I had a chance to go out for that half hour and do some shooting and to be reminded that every skill we have requires diligent and consistent practice to not only gain, but also to maintain. Street photography is no different. Having not shot a single street photo for a year and a half has left a very apparent mark on me. Getting that groove back will take time, effort and heaps of patience. I had been so focused on landscapes and nature photography during the lockdown that the theoretical knowledge of street photography is still intact, but the muscle memory just isn’t there. I felt as if I had started learning photography from the ground up again (and in a sense I am). It feels odd, it’s a bit frustrating, yet exhilarating at the same time. This extended loss of practice and re-learning of a skill is a golden opportunity to correct old bad habits, to try different techniques and in general look at the world (and photography in my case) through a different lens (pun intended).
I can only imagine how many photographers and other artists are going through similar experience. There is a silver lining to everything.
One only must keep going, be patient, and plow forward. The old groove will come back eventually…