Today. I thought that I would write about something that all photographers suffer from a lack of periodically: motivation.
I am sure you know how it is: you are in your office, or study or wherever you normally do your photographic desk work and you are reminded by an article, or coming across an image, or looking for something and seeing your camera, that you have not actually been out and shot anything for quite some time. The doubts suddenly appear like ghosts in a haunted house…have I lost it for good? Did I ever have it? Did I have it and not nurture it enough and now it has ceased to be, like the parrot in a Monty Python sketch? I must go and shoot, you think. Oh, but WHAT shall I go and shoot? I can’t think of anything at all…is often the next thing.
I know no photographer for whom this has never happened and for most it happens reasonably often unless they actually work in a role where they are fed photography work on a weekly basis. Even those fortunate few often find themselves lost because they are forced to shoot whatever they are told to shoot which is only rarely what they want to shoot. You pull your camera out of the bag and wonder whether the battery will still actually be charged, it has been so long.
Let’s look at some ways in which you can overcome this.
Personal projects are great for giving you some work to do when you have no other motivation or, if you are professional, the sales calls have not brought work in that week. Of course, being personal they can be about anything you like. Signposts, old cars, your grandparents, parents, children, pets, local landmarks, festivals. They can be themed – all black & white, all colour, all square, all prints and so on. They can last a day, a week, a month – a decade if you wish, or more.
Place some limits on yourself. Go out and shoot using only one lens. Only in black & white. Only in one day from shoot to print. Only 16:9 ratio images. A group of 10 images by 4pm the following day. I learned this one from photographer David du Chemin, a great visual artist and very wise man.
This one works best for me. I have always found it hard to shoot the space in which I live my life. I do not know why; perhaps subconsciously I feel that it violates my personal bubble somehow – I really do not know. I do know that work I shoot around my local area rarely generates the enthusiasm and interest within me of work I shoot elsewhere though. Going somewhere new brings curiosity and the need to explore for me, renewing motivation. If you are really in a rut, come and see us in New Zealand and let me help you work through it as we travel through some of the most amazing scenery in the world.
There are three ways that may help you find your motivation. The key skill is learning to see it in yourself and knowing when it needs attending to. True photographers are not made, they are born I think and if that applies to you then the need to shoot, to use your talent and creativity, will eventually drive you to action. Try to spot when that is happening and address it before it becomes too much of an undirected force in your life. Harness that energy.
If you need to travel, or want to, then you can always begin the process and start planning and researching that next trip, making the shot list you want to get when you finally get off the plane…
If your dream is New Zealand, then get in touch and let us help.