I’m all about a fast-paced life. I like to keep working, keep moving, stay on set, and keep traveling, but sometimes things slow down. This is a reflection on the Marie Claire article about Claire Danes, but also about finding another way to cope with professional stress powerfully…
I recently read an article on actress Claire Danes in the February issue of Marie Claire called: “Great Heights”: Claire Danes on the Leap of Faith That Changed Her Life.
It was mainly a promotional piece on her hit show “Homeland” but, to my awesome surprise, it discussed a lot more.
She spoke of a period in her life where she didn’t work for two years, but not necessarily by choice. After winning a Golden Globe, Screen Actors Guild Award and an Emmy for her role in Temple Garden she couldn’t find quality roles. She admitted that she spent a lot of those two years crying and in agony over not working, until she finally had a full breakdown, in public, at a Mets game.
If you’re an artist and genuinely love what you do, you’ve probably been in the above position in some form. I mean, she won 3 awards for her work, and then had to sit and wait for more to come.
I am definitely one of those people who likes to be working all the time. Really, all the time. I have been called a workaholic but, at the end of the day, I feel most alive when my life is fast-paced.
Downtime is Inevitable
Being a beauty photographer, you can’t always be busy. Summer is usually my downtime. Most people are on vacation from July through Labor Day Weekend in September. You can literally hear crickets coming from New York and Europe during the month of August.
I have NEVER done well with downtime. Ever heard the expression “coal under pressure produces diamonds?” That’s me. I love pressure. The edge of my seat is where I like to operate. I don’t just love to photograph (granted, it’s my favorite part). I love to organize, problem-solve and decision-make. It turns me on.
But the industry works in cycles. There are waiting periods between rushes, and I’ve had to learn how to enjoy the quiet moments. Let me rephrase that: I was forced to learn how to enjoy the quiet moments.
Photo of February 2017 Issue of Marie Claire, by Txema Yeste
My Claire Dane’s Moment
About 3 or 4 years ago I had my Claire Danes moment: I didn’t work for a solid 5 weeks during the summer. Not a single job. Not one. I had no clue what to do with myself, I cried, I got angry, I yelled, I tried to keep myself occupied, but there’s only so much hanging out and laying on the beach one can do.
What I didn’t realize, though, was that all of my stress was having an impact on my body.
Then, one morning, I woke up and my muscles were so cramped with anxiety that I literally couldn’t move. When I did manage to roll of off my bed, I was hunched over and couldn’t straighten up. “Scared” is an understatement of what I felt. I was terrified!
This stress was affecting my health. And I realized: it was a choice. I never wanted to wake up like that again, and I certainly didn’t want to receive the diagnosis that would come with going on like that.
Downtime Doesn’t Have to Be a Bad Thing
So I simply decided: Downtime, whether it’s a few days, a week, or sometimes even a few weeks is not actually a bad thing. It’s a time to catch up: marketing, accounting, ideation, dreaming ahead. It’s a chance to ask important questions like: “What’s next?” and “What else, besides my work, gives me absolute joy?” A lot of things! And on top of all that, it gives me a chance to physically prepare for the next rush. You may not realize this, but beauty photography is really a workout.
The truth is, I still get antsy if my day isn’t scheduled back to back with shoots, production, and post-production. Everyone wants to be doing their favorite part of their job all the time. But the rest of the work has to get done, and life has to be especially attended to on the slower days.
See? I can just hang out. 🙂
Kate sZatmari – Bio
Beauty and portrait photographer Kate sZatmari has created memorable work for Harper’s Bazaar, Elle, Glamour and Rolling Stone among many other national and international publications.
Known in the industry for her artful images of actors, actresses, musicians and writers, sZatmari has completed projects for companies including Guthy Renker, La Prairie, O.P.I, Universal Music, Interscope Records, Lionsgate, Simon & Schuster and The Met Agency.
With European roots, sZatmari brings her trademark professionalism and keen eye to every shoot, offering clients a comfortable experience with spectacular results.
sZatmari was awarded two WMA Awards for best editorial features and travels between Los Angeles, New York and Toronto.