Trees in Winter
Continuing on with the “line” theme (well, loosely anyway) I decided to change things up this week and shot mostly at a wide normal focal length; 8.8mm on the LX3.
I have really enjoyed shooting the last few weeks. Restricting myself to only shooting only what I can see as a “line” has actually freed me to be more creative than I could otherwise be.
Of course all that goes back to the idea that constraints enhance creativity. If you still haven’t read A Lesser Photographers Manifesto, you really should. (Just be aware that his site is sometimes hard to connect to.)
So for now I will continue to look for lines, at least until I can think of something else to shoot.
An Afternoon Alone
Inspiration is a Process
We all want to become better at this craft. So why is it that so many of us only take photos when we “feel inspired”? If you follow A Lesser Photographer then you may have already read this.
Inspiration doesn’t “strike.” Inspiration is scheduled.
I would add that inspiration is a process. Think about the times you are “struck” with inspiration. Is it really that something comes to you out of the blue? Maybe that happens sometimes, but more often than not isn’t it that you are already thinking in a creative mindset? You see/read/hear something that sticks in your mind and the creative juice is already flowing by the time that inspiration “strikes”. So why can’t that be intentional?
When I decide that I am only going to take photos when I “feel like it”, I don’t do much. The details of life, what it takes to get through a day, are not conducive to creativity (and neither is trolling dpreview to see what has been announced at Photokina).
So when I don’t “feel like it”, I have to make a concentrated effort to begin the process of becoming inspired. Looking at it like this, there is really no difference between inspiration and creative block.
I always go back and forth on reprocessing old photos I have taken; time spent revisiting old work is time spent not making something new. However, how many times have you looked back through old photos and discovered something you previously overlooked? Looking back also reminds me of things I tried that didn’t work out, but also things that turned out better than I thought they would.
Or in this case, I can apply what I know about processing now to a photo I really like, but never liked the way it was presented. I don’t spend a lot time going through old photos, but maybe I should.
Take a Walk
If you are a perfectionist like me, you are waiting for everything to come together, all at once, and in good order. But the light is never just right, there are too many people in the way, I don’t know how to run a blog, I’m afraid I will be embarrassed. If you are like me, you suffer from ‘paralysis of analysis’ and can never get started.
I came across an article by Matt Mullenweg a couple months ago; it’s what really pushed me over the edge to actually publishing my photography and taking this seriously (again). My current goal is to post a recent photo once a week. It’s a lot of work, but what I keep coming back to is the idea that I have to post something; it doesn’t matter if it’s exactly what I want, it just has to be there.
This way I learn from my mistakes. The other way I don’t make mistakes because I don’t do anything. “If you’re not embarrassed when you ship your first version you waited too long.” So I guess it’s okay to be embarrassed.
Sometimes we try too hard. I think that is because we think we have something to prove. Or maybe it is that we are insecure in our ability to create. Instead of trying to do something great, do something simple. If you lack inspiration, grab your camera and take a picture of anything. And, while it is important to see the subject from different angles, it is surprising how often your first take is the one that makes the most sense.