I think it’s quite normal to feel, sometimes, without inspiration about photography, writing or about art in general.
We cannot produce 24/7 creative ideas, masterpieces, incredible projects etc etc.
Probably there’s not any magic formula that allows creativity to come back. I suppose the best thing is to let go, accept you are in a blank phase and patiently wait to come back.
Too many times we think creativity will be improved or enhanced by buying some new gear. Or worst, we think that we cannot be creative without that new gear we lust.
It’s never the camera that gives best photos as it’s never the typewriter that gives the best novels.
The human component is the most important.
So I tried to summarize some ways I use to help creativity come back.
1. take a journey. Not kidding. Take a journey. Although I think that it’s better photographing ordinary things an extraordinary way -rather than the opposite- sometimes taking a journey is like fresh sea breeze on the face. Seeing new places, new people and living new experience may help to see things from another perspective and get some new ideas for your photography.
2. start a photographic project. What is a project? If a photo is telling a story, a photographic project is to write a novel. You stop shooting a single picture and start collecting photographies with a common purpose. Or with a common technique. Or with a common limit. You shoot photos that shares a common idea. This helps your brain and eyes to look for connection between different subjects and develop new ideas and creativity.
3. stick to a subject. This is an idea that comes from the “creative constrain“. If you keep on shooting photos to a single subject, your mind will probably look for new angles or new ways to visually tell something more about the subject. Then you can apply the new ideas to your photographic style.
4. post process some of your old photographs (really old) in a totally different and exaggerated way. This is a great way to see things in a totally different way from how we were used to. Your creativity about photography will come back as soon as you will notice that “uhm…this new editing of this old image would fit great if I’d apply it to…(fill with the new idea)”. Believe me: it works.
5. go and visit some photo exhibition or gallery. I remember I was totally blocked in a period of my life, without being able to shoot nothing interesting. In that moment I had the opportunity to see a photo exhibition of works and life of Izis Bidermanas and It’s been awesome. I came back home with a lot of new ideas and it also improved the quality of my pictures.
6. try to think back at your photo beginnings, when you moved your first steps in the world of photography as a newbie. How did you feel? How was to grab a camera for the first time? How was the feeling of looking at your first photo? Why did you start to photograph? Answering these questions triggers a lot of emotional memories in you and can lead to renewed energies.
7. Just accept the “emptiness” moment and let it take its course. Take a short break from photography. You can always tae your camera again when you feel in the right mood.
Sometimes not fighting is better than fighting, when it comes to creativity issues.
And…I’ll leave you with two things you should definitely MUST NOT DO when you lack of creativity:
- buy new gear: it’ll only bring you frustration, because you’ll feel sad about still not having any spark of creativity despite the new, expensive lens or camera you’ve just bought;
- think it’ll last forever: nothing last forever;
Be yourself, be creative, be free.