We all go through a mental block and I get messages from people asking where I get my inspiration from as they are having a blip in their own photo journey.
Here is a photograph from a roll where I felt uninspired a while back.
Sitting indoors staring out of the window I had a few hours to spare and wanted to take some photos on my Leica 3F loaded with a roll of ORWO UN54. But nothing was coming to mind.
I was literally overthinking and had ideas and visions literally flashing in my mind but nothing was sticking.
I was putting obsticals in every idea I had.
The films not fast enough for this, the sun is too bright for that, that’s too far to drive, I’ve shot that before and it went on and on.
Its not good to ponder like that sitting indoors. So I decided to get out in the car and drive.
With the Leica and Light Meter sitting next to me in the car I drove away from home and literally headed off without a clue what I wanted to shoot. But, at least I was out. And something may catch my eye. Even if nothing happens in the car I know I can park up and walk.
Well, as it happens I was driving along a road where there is a school and opposite the school is a large green area with a few trees.
I decided to park in the school car park and walk for a bit. At this point I was still feeling uninspired and nearly drove back home to save the film for another day.
I then saw this man sitting on a wall by the roadside smoking a cigarette. His feet were placed on the road where the double yellow parking lines were and around his feet were the autumn leaves.
A vision flashed in my mind at that moment to get on my belly and take a photograph of the double yellow parking lines coming right into the lens and in the background this guy’s feet.
Too late. The guy flicked his cigarette away and walked off. Probably a good job for me too as I would have looked like a right odd ball taking a photo of his feet from the floor on my belly.
So I kept the idea and took position.
I decided to keep a wide open aperture and this was the scene I had in mind, except without the guy’s feet
From there I found an interest in the leaves. So I decided to take more photographs of the same style concentrating at what I saw at belly level!
It was late in the afternoon and the sun was relatively bright but I chose compositions more in the shady areas. Which wasn’t hard as the sun was low.
You’re probably thinking I’ve lost the plot but I suddenly found this inspirational challenge. And above all I was enjoying taking the pictures.
And these scenes were all around me so I hardly walked but a few yards from where my car was parked. And I took my time also.
So from one moment sitting indoors pondering over my thoughts to getting out in my car, parking up and seeing a guy sitting on a wall lead to these photographs. Are they great?… Not really. But they’re not bad either for breaking what was a blank void in my head an hour or so beforehand.
My photography doesn’t always have to end up in a frame. I like the idea of that but if I haven’t got a picture I feel is worth framing then at least I have had fun doing what I enjoy and some more negatives to add to my folder. You never know when you’ll need one of those images.
So when people ask me how I find inspiration I just have to get up and get out with an open mind and see what comes of it. I nearly went back with a full roll of ORWO, well, actually, I went back with a few frames which I used on George. But I’d have done nothing pondering my thoughts indoors.
Other times I will set myself a challenge. I’ll give myself a subject and then go where I can get pics.
Today I’m going to shoot…
- Stressed items (rust, rotten wood etc)
- Shoes (yes I sat on the floor in Oxford Street, London photographing peoples shoes as they walked past)
There are so many subjects you can challenge yourself with.
Other times I’ve opened a book, closed my eyes and pointed to a word on a page and used that as a subject! Unless it’s ‘And’ or ‘The’… But you get the idea.
And of course there is always challenges indoors if you don’t feel like getting out. My usual favourite is available light or window light. Or sometimes set up some lights just for a composition on a subject.
Using a light panel for a Large Format photo of the Buddha
A lamp I used to light a pumpkin and I kept the lamp in also.
I hope this little post has helped anyone that is struggling a bit for inspiration and ideas. It happens to us all from time to time and if you’re like me and love taking pictures then try a few if these ideas. If you’re really struggling just take a break for a short while and let your mind recharge it’s creativity.