A few ideas for finding inspiration

I’m like most photographers that I have known, in that I have a very active imagination. Ideas fly through my mind at what seems to be an alarming rate. Here one second and then gone. While I am walking to another room to get something that I need an idea or image pops into my head. I start thinking about that idea or image so intently that by the time I get to where I needed to go, I have forgotten what I needed to get! Many people call these “senior moments”. Well, I’ve been having these senior moments for most of my life. Is it a senior moment or creative mind at work? I’ll go with creative mind at work. But what happens when the ideas just won’t come as easily. How do you find the inspiration to create images when ideas just won’t come? Here are a few ideas to help get those creative ideas flowing again.

Go to the library or bookstore and browse through the books and magazines. Take a look at books written about the things you most like to photograph. Plants, food, wildlife, cars, fashion and weather are some of the subjects you might want to explore. Look at books about the subject you like, not books about photographing the subject. Take a look at the images in those books and check them out from the library, or buy a few from the book store and use those images for inspiration.

Go to an art gallery and look around. I’ll be honest, I’ve never liked Picasso’s work but after having been to art school I understand what he was trying to do with a three dimensional object on a two dimensional canvas. I’m more of a Salvador Dali or Jerry Uelsmann fan. Take a look at work that you “get” or you like as well as some that is simply beyond your understanding. Remember you are trying to get out of a rut. Maybe a good jolt of something that you don’t like or even understand may do it for you. Go beyond your comfort zone because staying within that comfort zone might be the problem.

Go out into your backyard and really look around. How many images are there that you have been missing all the time you have lived there? You can do the same thing at a local park. When I say “really look around” I don’t mean just look, see. There is a big difference between looking and seeing.

Go somewhere you have never been before. I know there are quite a few places I can go within an hour’s drive. If you live in a city take a bus, subway or walk to a new neighborhood. Look for anything that might inspire you.

Take your camera but just go to look. If you go with the intention of making images you probably won’t make any. Feeling you have to get out a make some images might be the reason you are feeling so uninspired in the first place! Just get out, look around, and really see the possibilities. I don’t think it will take long before you find subjects for images you want to create.

Railroad Bridge over the Rappahannock River Fredericksburg Virginia at Night

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