I wish I could stay calm. I wish I could say, “Be positive.” But I can’t. For me, this is the toughest war mankind has ever encountered.
Taking me out of my creative habitat is truly unimaginable. I love the snaking cables in my studio, the smell of my camera, the burst of lights, the rapid-fire of the shutter, the echo of my voice throwing orders… then suddenly, this unforeseen thing happens — C-O-V-I-D!
The effect is paralyzing. Sobrang takot. Without my cameras, who am I? I’ve been in the business for 42 years and have authored 16 hardbound books. My work defines me.
“ Sad to say, a lot of photographers would have only two chances of survival — slim and none. Photographers would have a harder time charging livable rates except for a chosen few. There’s no such thing as “business as usual” for most of us anymore. ”
Did I press the panic button? No, but I was in fear. With so many pieces moving, what should I really do (ano ba talaga gagawin ko)?
Fear is good. It makes us think. It should make us act. Max Lucado said, “Fear can be a visitor, not a resident.” But I was thinking, how can I even plan when I don’t know when and how this will end? Today’s “normal” is not the same as yesterday’s. (Iba ‘yung normal ngayon, iba ‘yung kahapon.) There is no new normal. Every day is different!
Acceptance is the key. We all understand that there are things we cannot change and we all know it’s our choice how to react. Sad to say, a lot of photographers would have only two chances of survival — slim and none. Photographers would have a harder time charging livable rates except for a chosen few. There’s no such thing as “business as usual” for most of us anymore.
The short-term impact will be economically dire for a market already in a rapid decline. We cannot project the past into the future. We can focus more on what to do next rather than what went wrong. There’s still a lot that even scientists don’t know about COVID-19, how much more us? (Kung ‘yung mga scientist nga hindi pa alam ang gagawin, tayo pa?) The only true thing I know now is the value of the air between each inhale and exhale.
I have read an article in the Wall Street Journal about Olympus exiting the camera business after 84 years. What does this mean? It’s sad to know that the arts, including photography, is number one in the list of non-essentials. But you can pivot, and it would be easy for people with a set of skills and grit. You can thrive by continuing to test yourself and live on the edge of failure. Failure means you tried.
People in the photography business, especially if it is their hyper skill like me, have been severely affected due to the lockdown. Even before the country was placed under the enhanced community quarantine and just a few COVID-19 cases were reported, people started to cancel their shoots. Photographers had to drop a lot of events and forego shoots that were supposed to happen from March to May. The number of e-mails decreased while phones stopped ringing!
What to do? Never give up. Keep firing. Dig an inch deeper inside you, then wear your spandex! Chances are there would be a warrior inside you still raring to fight. Game on!
This is my conclusion: There’s no “new normal” as of now or in the near future. There will be changes each passing day. The only good day was yesterday. I’m designing a new day every day. I believe that this, too, shall pass.
Edited by Nathalie Tomada