Seeing & Looking
Text and photography by Jim Austin Jimages.
What do we do when our creative light goes dim?
"I'm not feeling creative with my photography", "I'm out of subjects to photograph", and "My camera's been on the shelf for a while" are all things we may feel. Indeed, dark thoughts and creative ruts happen to each of us at some time. We might even think there's nothing for us to photograph. While these thoughts are a natural part of our path, when we brood on them, a sense of self-doubt may take over.
We may feel like quitting photography altogether unless we can find our way out of the darkness of a creative rut.
One way is to st small goals that tie into our habits. When we first started taking pictures, the craft of photography probably felt bright and energetic. To reignite our craft, we need a spark. Our habits provide the fuel to get out of a rut. Since there are things we do repeatedly every day, we can harness our picture taking to these actions. Make the bed. Put on our shoes. Ride the subway or bus to work. The key is to put on our camera like a piece of clothing, and then commit to a few pictures. To escape the immobility and powerlessness of a rut, go through the motions. Get your camera shutter moving on any subject. For instance, I think: "I'm going to take five shots between the bedroom and the front door."
The subject matter can be mundane. We have to put aside ideas about "epic" "good light" and "photogenic subjects." Just make yourself, and the shutter, move. Get more oxygen to brain and minds eye, and you will be surprised by the ideas that emerge from your subconscious.
Taking a photo walk is a time proven way to reignite our process. To her delight, I walk our dog about four times a week. The camera always goes round my neck after I get shoes (and mask) on. The dog pulls me outside, and then I just snap a few shots of ordinary things along the way.
To paraphrase Thackery: "There are a thousand pictures lying within you that you don't know until you get moving and raise up your camera to shoot.”
(For my pal EB).
Photos and Writings by Jim Austin Jimages