All creative people go through times when the creative juice just doesn't flow. Call it photographer's block or mud season or the dog days of summer, you find yourself totally uninspired and apathetic. It may be internal, an emotional state that leaves you flat. It may be external, when March rolls around and everything is brown and ugly. For me, it happens when winter winds down, and the snow isn't fresh any more - or gone completely - and there are weeks till anything buds in spring. I have several ways to cope:
Honor the feeling. Wallow in it - right, everything IS brown and ugly! Send the camera away for maintenance. Do the taxes. Do spring cleaning. Catch up with friends. Set a time limit and enjoy the break.
Schedule a vacation for this time of year. Go somewhere green, somewhere warm, somewhere different. As different as possible! I went to the Sonoran desert last month. Next year, maybe Florida or Ireland or Utah. A change of scene always triggers a change of vision.
Do the same old thing in a different way. Jim Salge recently wrote an article on using macro lenses. His post was so inspiring, I ordered one and have been exploring a new world for weeks. Spring buds in the local cemetery. My cat's paws. Lunch. Everything looks different with a different lens. Sometimes I carry only a telephoto lens. This forces me to look at things differently, and the different vision often breaks the block.
Go introspective and find the beauty of this time of year. Linda Baird-White and Butch Lombardi are really good at this, and I envy them. Photograph ducks, osprey, cardinals, any sign of life. Shoot seaweed patterns on the beach instead of broad landscapes. Make abstract patterns of tree bark. Photograph close-ups of rocks, barnboards, branches & twigs, evergreen needles. Practice architectural photography, before the trees leaf out and hide the buildings.
Visit other websites for inspiration. Here are some of my bookmarks:
- Sharon Lambert
- Stephanie Gould
- Philip Case Cohen
These photographers all have unique styles and interests. Try another style and see what happens.
So, it's April and some New Englanders are shooting daffodils and cherry blossoms, but you're seeing yuk outside. What should you do? Come to Boston. Change your lens. Look at tiny details. Shoot sand patterns. Try someone else's style. Do something different. Shake it up.