All of us get caught in a not-so-creative rut from time to time, which may be tricky to escape. It has happened to me plenty of times to the point that I started questioning my own abilities. And then when you’re under pressure to come up with something creative, it becomes even more difficult.
Today’s post is about what I do to get out of that rut; there are a couple of simple steps that I take that usually work for me.
1. Keep Shooting!
No matter what, do not stop and start over-analyzing! Analysis-paralysis has never gotten anything accomplished, but action does get things done!
2. Try Something New!
This is the step that usually gets me moving forward, as shiny new things are a lot of fun. Whether it’s a new lighting accessory that you haven’t unpacked yet, or something new that is around the office that you can use for a shoot (see below…)
3. Take On a Challenge.
There are lots of things that lie outside my comfort zone, which makes them a definite challenge for me. Additionally, it’s not a bad idea to challenge a fellow-creative to a bit of friendly competition.
4. Reward Yourself
When you do that task that you have set for yourself, remember to reward yourself, as positive reinforcement keeps you going.
This shot came from an exercise that I did to come up with something completely new using a rather quotidian object: the lowly paperclip. Doing something creative with paperclips required me to think differently, to change my angle of approach from what I had been doing.
Literally, I tossed a handful of paperclips on a black surface, and looked at them for something inspiring. Playing around with light helped me uncover something of interest and worth shooting; it took about 20 or so attempts to really find an angle that worked well for me and provided some cool, harsh light and shadows.
As a reward, I printed this off on 17×22 paper to get the full effect! It made me smile!!
This one was all about the lighting, as I wound up using a single Canon Speedlite 580EX with some black cinema-foil to control the spillage of light. My lens choice was a Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 macro lens, so that I could get these paperclips nice and large.
A Fresh Perspective
Photography is more than just a vehicle for capturing the world around me; it provides me with a palette and a set of brushes, with which I paint not only what I see, but also look to express the emotions that are evoked by the scene in front of me in that moment.
Growing up in the Netherlands exposed me to a wide cross-section of visual arts that laid the foundation of my photographic view of all that surrounds me. Early influences were the Dutch Masters of the 17th century, to whom I was introduced by my grandfather during museum explorations; favorites among them are the scenes of quotidian life depicted by Jan Steen and Frans Hals and the vivid landscapes of Jacob van Ruisdael.
My classical high school education was supplemented by the Boijmans Van Beuningen museum, where I spent many a lunch hour exploring its great collection. Here I was introduced to surrealism with a particular love for the approach taken by Salvador Dali; Dali also rekindled my appreciation for the work of Hieronymus Bosch, who often showed the folly of us mortals.
My approach to any photographic subject is to look for understanding first; in this I look to establish either a connection between the viewer and the subject or capture the connection of the subject with its surroundings. The captured image then aims to portray this connection from a perspective that is part of my personal interpretation.
This interpretation is often a form of externalized introspection, which may alternately display the connection of isolated beings and items with their environment or highlight the whimsy of the profound world, in which we find ourselves. The universe is full of connections, many of which are waiting to be discovered; part of my journey as a photographer is to document these connections.
Any assignment, be it an event, a product shoot or a portrait session is always approached through communication with the client; this is where the first connection is established. Ideas are exchanged and a collaborative plan of action forms, ultimately resulting in a set of images that aim to exceed the expectations of each client.
And, lest we forget, it is important to have fun while practicing the serious business of photography!
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4 thoughts on “TTT – Creative Juices”
Now you have to imagine you’re trapped in an alien world and you have to crawl through those giant clips to escape! Imagination is a wonderful thing!
Love the idea!
Creative paperclips. And I particularly like tip #3 Trying something new. Works every time.
Trying something new ensures that you have no prior history with it, so there’s no rut (yet 🙂 )
Thank you for reading my post, and I’m glad that you like it!