Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Inspiration - photographically pt 3

Continuing on with some random type thoughts on photographic inspiration, or perhaps more for this post just creativity...

I've benefited a great deal from reading some stuff on Donald Miller's blog about what he calls  the way of the Creator.  Click that to see all the posts he's tagged with that...  Donald is an author, so don't expect any discussion on f-stops or shutter speeds, but he does talk about the creative process in a way that I think more of us need to think about.  In particular, the post on the "consumer-critic-creator" was quite helpful.
A quick quote from that post:

A consumer wakes from their ways and becomes a critic, and when the critic gets through their fearful stage they can become a creator. 

  Also, I'd recommend this post.

Photographers are an interesting bunch.  We all can be so different.  Some have ideas in their head that they HAVE to get out into an image, if they pick up a camera it is to create the image that they already see in their minds eye.  Others react entirely to what they see, they walk around and watch, hoping to 'see' something and record it.  Many are somewhere between the two.

I don't think one is better then the other.  Now, I'm a hobbyist, an amateur, or as I like to describe myself... a hack.  I enjoy photography because it can be so many different things.  It helps me regain perspective.  I am forced to 'see' what's going on outside my own world, outside my own thoughts.  Any time you are forced to see beyond yourself, well, that's good.  Photography often takes patience.  Especially true with wildlife photography as wild animals seldom do what you'd like them to.  In all forms of photography, you will get better in time.  It takes practice and thinking things through.
Me, with my new lens.
In trying to answer the question, "why do I take photos?" - my answer is; it depends.  It's therapy, for the reasons I mentioned above with regard to my own perspective.  I sometimes hide behind my camera.  Sometimes I use my camera to get to know people.  I will use my camera to help me escape.  I will use my camera to help me communicate something that will not come out with just words.

For me, maybe because I don't take photos for money,  all of these things are okay.  None of them is better or worse then the other.  If I was taking photos for a living, I expect some of these reasons would make my job taking photos more difficult.

In a slightly different vein...
I read a post on Chase Jarvis' blog some time ago about sorting through lots of photos.  If you deal with a large number of photos...g  o read it. In the post, written by Scott, he says he uses stars to rate the photos.  Not earth shattering perhaps.  He does lay out how he uses stars.  The system he describes can be a great help if you're stuck in how you're going to get through all the photos in your library.  Really though, if you struggle with going through your photos... go read that post.

(I will add to what he says, that I use the reject button in Lightroom to separate the photos I have gone through from the photos that I have.  So an unrated, unrejected photo is one that I have not sorted through.)

A few of my disorganized thoughts on some of this stuff.  Hope it's helpful.
Camera Bag Geekiness 2011

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Inspiration - photographically pt 2

"We should be taught not to wait for inspiration to start a thing. Action always generates inspiration. Inspiration seldom generates action."- Frank Tibolt
One of the guys in my camera club shared that quote with me. Thanks John!

Some more of the random like thoughts in my head about inspiration.

Inspiration Stealers:

  • Frustration
  • lack of energy
  • lack of sleep
  • lack of time
  • stress
  • fear
  • comparing your work to others
  • hurt
  • clutter in your mind
  • clutter in your life
  • failure avoidance - that is, feeling "I can't do that yet, so I won't try"

Inspiration for me comes easier when I'm relaxed and not overly stressed out.  I'll be thinking about that part in a bit.
Creating stuff for me is very emotional. Both in a good way and a bad way.  Once I get moving on doing stuff there's a great sense of purpose and calm and things just flow.  I think it's one of the coolest parts of this hobby of photography.  When things click - it's just awesome.  However, when you're not feeling it.... even picking up the camera can be difficult.

I think the positive side of that is why photography is somewhat therapeutic for me.  If I can get to a point where I can pick up my camera and start shooting, then within that process of shooting I start to find some perspective on all the stuff that I'm stressing about 'outside' of the photography.  The act of seeing (looking through a viewfinder is great for this) forces me to  see things differently - so I start to see the rest of my life and circumstances differently too.

How emotional is photography for you?

(the photos in this post are all mine and I included them only because I like them for different reasons)

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Inspiration - photographically

The other night I led the discussion at our camera club on inspiration.  I thought I would share the visuals with you.

I'll add some more thoughts in another post soon.