A Sailboat. In Color. Abstract. Something Different.
It struck me after last week’s post that it was just about half of what was needed. I suggested that it might be valuable to your creativity to lay off photography for a bit. Well, if you take some time off from photography, you will need to motivate yourself to get back in the groove of being creative or, as I like to call it, reclaiming your photo mojo. None of us want to lose our photo mojo. So, how do we get it back? Here are some things I do to get my photo mojo working again after taking some time off.
We all own some photographic turf. There’s a subject that we love to photograph more than anything else. Start making those photographs; landscapes, old houses, table top still lifes, flowers, macro, whatever photo subject you love to photograph, go photograph. Get what you love in front of your camera. The idea is to do something you love and do it successfully. Basketball players start with lay-ups and then move further away from the hoop with each shot. This is a good lesson. Make photographs of things you enjoy and you make well. A “quick win” is what you’re after, something that you can look at and say, “Yeah, I can make this type of photograph and make it well.” It’s a pump priming project to get you back in the world with a camera in your hand. It’s a kind of warm up project that will get you doing photography again.
Some folks like new photo gear. While it could be expensive, there’s nothing like trying out a new accessory to get you back out into the world with a camera in your hand. It can be as simple as a new photo hat. You don't think it matters what type of hat you wear when you photograph? It does. Go out and test some photo hats. It's much less expensive than a new lens and you will be out in the world photographing. You can test to your hearts content if that’s what it takes to get you back in the world with a camera in hand. But be cautioned, endless gear testing is not really photography. It’s an evaluation of tools to help you make real photographs. The goal is to make real photographs again. You may get something new, do some testing and then figure out how to use it to make photographs.
What were you thinking about when you took some creative time off? Look at that project again with fresh eyes. If that project stopped you, go back and look at it with fresh eyes. Consider what stopped you and how you can solve that problem now. Time off allows your subconscious to work on your problems. See if your subconscious has solved that problem for you while you were doing something else. Sometimes it pays to sit down and rest in front of the wall you were banging your head against. When you get up again, you may have figured out a way to get around that wall.
What’s your next project? Do you have a list of projects you want to do? If not, make that list. Then pick one to complete. It doesn't have to be a big, complex or grandiose project. Do you need some new photos around the house? Search through your files and find some images that are worthy wall art. Then edit them, print, mount, mat and hang them on the wall. That's something photographic. If you can't think up a project for yourself, you can look outside for your next project. Do any of your local arts groups have a call for entry? You could make three or four photographs for that juried exhibit. Do your local municipal galleries have a call for exhibits? That would be larger group of photographs, but it would get you back in the photographic groove. Both of these outside projects will give you requirements, a deadline and those will force you to complete some photographs.
Starting to get the idea? There are a lot of opportunities for you to get out there and create some art. Identify them and make some photographs. The real key element in all this is simple. You have to remember how much you really love photography. Maybe these simple thoughts will help you remember what you love and inspire you to do it.
You’ve had enough time off. Go out there and make some art.