8 | Sasquatch

Posted: 13 Mar 2352weeksphotographycreativityselfstrobisthalf_naked
Half naked Stu appears to comically pout for the camera!

I took this shot on Saturday and nearly didn’t post it. I’m not pleased with it. It was taken while playing with a new lighting setup. I just ordered a second flash unit so I wanted to play with different configurations using two flashes off-camera and using shoot-through umbrellas to soften the light. The lighting is good. During the same shoot I got some fun pictures of Chloe which I shared here on Instagram. The same lighting setup doesn’t work quite so nicely here as it doesn’t account for the shadows created by my spectacles.

The main reason I don’t like this image is not technical, it’s artistic. It just doesn’t say anything about me or my mood and it lacks creativity. Even if I was aiming this to be a fun/comic shot the silly pout-like expression isn’t quite executed well enough. The title has also been chosen without reason.

Other Thoughts

Last week my return to work was far more difficult than I had expected or hoped. All of the interactions I had with the work/clients/colleagues were largely positive and had good outcomes. A colleague even went to the trouble of writing some very gushing feedback about me in an internal slack channel (It was enough to make me blush even if I don’t truly accept it). How I felt from moment to moment did not reflect these successes though.

Many days last week felt like working through a series of frustrations. I was trapped in circular patterns of thought and increasing levels of anxiety. Thursday morning in London started with what I’d describe as a panic attack on the tube that left me feeling pretty uneasy. I’ve wasted energy doubting my abilities and judgement and at times have been overwhelmed by these bouts of anxiety. For the most part, I’ve been able to manage and coach my way through these moments but it’s definitely a disconcerting trend and extremely tiring.

Some of this malaise is a hangover from events that took place at the end of last year and I need to continue to work through that. I’ve also noted that the week before I went on holiday and since I’ve returned I largely let any self-care habits I had put in place slide. I’ve been prioritising work over my own needs, I’ve been smoking & drinking, eating junk and I also let my renewed running habits slide. It bugs me that good habits are so hard to create and so easily lost.

This week I’ll be prioritising these healthier habits (yes…again!) to see if I it helps declutter the mind a little. I’ve also got some homework from my therapist to explore. This weekend acted as a bit of a reset and yesterday I coaxed myself into a 9.5-mile slow run. I have a few large blisters to show for it today but hopefully, I can still get out a couple more times this week for some short easy runs and get my training plan back on track.

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This post was written by Stuart Mackenzie

Stuart works at TPXimpact (previously known as FutureGov) changing and improving our public services. He's also known for being a father, husband, runner, photography nerd and excotic disco dancer!

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