I need to take more showers. Well, not because I’m stinky or anything, but because I get some of my best ideas for images when I’m in the shower. After many, many years of taking showers the process has become a bit automatic. Start at my head end at my feet and hit all the bits in between. It’s a bit like breathing, I don’t have to think about it most of the time. Because I don’t have to think about what I’m doing, my mind shifts in neutral. This is where the ideas start because my mind never stays in neutral for very long.
Thoughts wonder in and out of my mind. A color, a place or an object and my mind builds an image around that starting point. I may get an image that I have been having trouble visualizing. I may get something completely new. I may get something that needs to be refined. Whatever I get I mull it over to see if there is a final image that I would like to make. Mind you, quite often my mind is off thinking about everything else that I need to do that day and no images come to mind at all. The days that ideas do come always feel a bit magical.
When I get out of the shower I write down and sketch a fairly detailed description of the image or images I came up with. I have been keeping notebooks of image ideas for many years. I have some notebooks that go back to the early 80’s. Some of the ideas I have already used for creating images and other ones I haven’t used yet. A few of the ideas I have gone back to a few times to put a new twist on them. I think every photographer should have a notebook of image idea in one form or another. All of mind are proper notebooks because I like flipping through the pages and seeing my ideas from the past. Quite often in reviewing ideas I find interesting combinations of ideas that become new images.
Take more showers, keep notebooks do whatever works for you to get and keep more image ideas. Then you can use those ideas at those times when you want to create an image but you are completely blocked.