Subway, Nandos and jet black backgrounds

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I hear myself say the same thing each and every time. Countless times as I push through the heavy glass doors, I tell myself to experiment, to live a little and be enlightened by something new.

Those green and white menus offer so much more than my predictable foot long BMT on hearty Italian bread, with 4 layers of extra cheese, generous handfuls of peppers, gherkins, lettuce and onions and smothered by the same sweet onion, honey mustard and southwest sauce.

I promise myself that today is a new day; a day to explore uncharted territory and introduce my bored taste buds to the savoury tastes of something new but, before I place my order my brain panics and says “not today” and I stumble and fall back to familiar ways. I am satisfied and the I-have-just-eaten box has been ticked but I can’t help but feel a little disappointed with myself. The Subway menu is so varied but comfort and a love of the familiar makes me go back to the same meal over and over again.

Only recently did I break free of familiar culinary constraints as I treated myself to a ‘cheeky Nandos’. Instead of ordering my staple mango and lime chicken wrap with a side of spicy rice and halloumi cheese, I decided to push the proverbial boat out and explore some of the great mysteries that lay within the menu. Needless to say I survived and can proudly declare that sunset burgers (with peri-tamer sauce and holloumi cheese) are the greatest things ever. My once bored taste buds woke up danced and cheered like an excitable 6 year old on Christmas morning and I felt…enlarged, like my eyes had been opened. I was exposed to something new and I felt…full; satisfied even.

I want to change this.

I say all of this because as I continue to explore photography, I always gravitate towards that which I am comfortable. I love shooting against a jet-black background and whereas it’s vital to find a niche and develop a specific style, I know that I am comfortable here. I have ‘lived’ here for a long time. I know how light my subjects and I know how to edit with this too. As with the Subway example, I find my brain declaring “not today” when presented with the opportunity to shoot in a style that I am unfamiliar with and instead, convince my clients to shoot against black. Whereas this ticks the I-have-done-a-good-job box, there’s a niggling feeling that I took the easy route; the route which produced the least growth and development. I want to change this.

Like with the Nandos example, I know that there are so many blessings and delights that lay beyond my comfort zone. I just need step out, feel the discomfort and grow in the unknown. I may drown, but then again I may not and it’s in the ‘not’ that I will learn new things that will take my photography to another level.I once read a quote which said,

“Everything you ever dreamed of is outside of your comfort zone.”

To me this means becoming a better photographer through seeking and taking opportunities which move me away from that which I am familiar.

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Until the next time