This is where I stand. There is so much I want to say, so much I want to shed my light on. But I just don´t know. I stopped my PAD project and thought I did well. Yet, it feels different. I am not sure whether the relief is still a relief. I am certain though that I won´t restart it again.
Doldrums, yeah doldrums. Like a sailor gets stuck in the doldrums, I feel like I get stuck too. Stuck between the PAD project and something to get me excited again.
This is where I stand. Stuck in my lack of inspiration, in my boredom with how I perceive current photography. It is where I stand. I do however need this too. It will help appreciate things better, not yet. It will however come, some day.
Photograph by Wouter Brandsma
35 thoughts on “Where I stand”
I know the feeling. Maybe try shooting what you find to be boring and uninspiring, … with no expectations.
Lack of inspiration….hmmmmm. Stop looking so far away and look at your family. If they don’t inspire you, go paint the bathroom.
If you really have an issue, I have a sure fire cure but it ain’t easy.
Let me know but I think you’ll be ok.
Your a good shooter….
I don’t know Don. I guess I need it right know. It is the way it is and it is where I stand. When autumn arrives and I am still not inspired I will start worrying.
I feel your pain but at the same time I don’t know quite where you should be, only you know, but as you know photography is all around. Perhaps a longer break is warranted. Don’t take your camera with you, photograph just with your eyes and perhaps that will provoke new inspirations. Cheers.
PS. I suppose a mobile phone might help to see things as well . . .
I feel like I am in a break right now and might make it even longer. Maybe I go out without any expectations. No difficulties, just the GRD and nothing else. Simplicity as the answer. I just don’t know Jorge. It sounds so obvious to change and to move on, but maybe I was more pleased with my photography a couple of years ago.
A little late here but I’m just checking out the Notifications tab in WP and its awesome, otherwise I would have never known you replied.
Take your time Wouter, you’ll know when the time is right.
I think we all have these periods. I know I do — I live in a very small town on a very small island, so there are rarely any “new” subjects from the average day to the next average day. For me, the only thing that works is to keep shooting and shooting and shooting, as if punching against that wall of boredom; I come away with a lot of uninspired junk, but finally punch through a new hole in that wall. I may see the same old subjects through that hole in the wall, perhaps, but it will be from a different angle, in a different light, with a different plan.
I have punched so hard. I photographed continuously for more than 70 weeks each and every day. One thing I know for sure is that I pick up drawing again. A different craft, a different plan.
Wouter, as you know, I stepped away from picture taking for a while. Didn’t take one single shot in six months, not even with my phone. I really needed the break, I got stuck in a routine of shooting the same things and the same places, using the same “tricks”.
Eventually, I knew what I really wanted to do: back to film. Using the most proletarian medium format camera one can find, a fully plastic Holga. I shot my first roll of film during the Summer Carnival in Rotterdam, and it felt like “coming home”.
I don’t want to say that changing gear is the answer to get excited again. It’s just that sometimes you need to wait a little longer for an impulse, a fresh start. It might take a while, but it comes sooner or later.
Somewhere out there there is a trick that works for you. Some thrill longer than others, but they all remain tricks. Sometimes it is not bad to keep doing the same trick, because you feel good with it. And sometimes I feel I already had that trick that worked best for me, it is now trying to figure out which one it was.
One thing I already know that I want to keep shooting lightweight. And even when I use my GR1 I still do the same thing. It is good to know though that you returned again.
Yes, this might be true. I guess the “trick” that always worked for me, was shooting just occasionally. During events filled with photo opps, like parades or one-day trips.
What went “wrong” in recent years, is feeling the obligation to act like an always-have-a-camera-with-you kind of guy, while I am actually not that kind of a picture taker. Always having this “monkey on my back” made me nervous.
And realizing this, I could go back to “expensive” film (something I already wanted for some time), as I no longer felt the pressure to shoot regularly.
By the way, the super-lightweight Holga is just perfect for me, given my somewhat rheumatic hands.
Wouter, take some time out from ‘snapping’. Go back over your images and select the images that please you. Then make a BLURB book out them, let us know when its ready, and sell some. 🙂
P.S., Wouter: The BLURB book should NOT be ‘project’ based! Just select images that please you. I think by doing this, you may likely see something new about your work that’ll energize you.
It sounds like a very interesting idea Jamie. I still have some rough sketches for a book I never finished, because it didn’t feel right at that time. And I thought before about some randomness in the arrangement of the photographs.
When I’m ‘stuck’ on something (photography or otherwise), I just say to myself: “Do something small and easy”. That usually gets me going again. So with regard to a book, don’t make the first book too complicated. Just go back over your images and let intuition select a couple dozen favorites. Then don’t spend any time editing; just place them at random in the book. It’ll be GREAT. And by then, you’ll likely see some theme that you might want to pursue further. Good luck, and by all means, “Don’t worry, be happy!” 🙂
A book had always worried me, Jamie. Main reason was the B&W printing and the fear of color casts. After your suggestion I figured I am going to apply a very moderate duotone to my photographs for this book. Right now I try to find out how many photographs and pages I want to use.
Thank you for your suggestion Jamie.
Wouter, I have to say that your words – backed up by the photo – are outstanding, they really get to me. they really strike a chord! I know about doldrums, and that lurking fear when inspiration seems to flown away for ever. My advice? Just take it easy, go with the flow, don’t try hard to get out of it, just let it quietly come back to you. Excellent post, my friend! Adrian
I am not too concerned Adrian. It happens and sometimes it takes longer and sometimes you hardly realize it. Like Jamie already suggested it most certainly provides me a chance to look through my previous work and see what I can do with it. I already started to experiment with some different post processing techniques.
This blog post kind of takes away some of the pressure to keep working on my photography. I take this moment to experiment like I did three years ago. And maybe now it is really the best time to actually work on a photobook.
I was experiencing the same thing like you do and I was drafting a post about it last week. I think you could handle better than I do as you’d been shooting photos a lot longer than I do! 😛 I did find ways to get motivated again such as going to movies (observe how the crew film the scene), travel to far away places, give yourself a break for a day and a half, etc…
I think the PAD project can be too much depend upon the type of photography one is doing, might just do it on instagram…but I think it kills the purpose of photography and it’s really going nowhere.. I enjoy your blog and your weekly photo posts especially those you’d done earlier this year. I like the contemporary touch you apply to your photographs.
Regarding photographing I am giving myself a break right now, but I am experimenting currently with post processing techniques. Some of current apps are really fascinating and I like to embrace them fully for my photography. It seems to turn it into a more organic thing instead of just plain tools oriented procedure. I am more and more starting to hate it. I think Lightroom is OK for organizing, but I like more fluid stuff for the post processing. Not technique, but result oriented. I’ll get there.
i was once in a similar mood. one day i decided to take the wrong bus, train, road. looking what is happening behind my neighborhood. i just looked carefully i thought i knew. i saw a lot of new things. just beside the road i knew.
The most interesting and remarkable stuff is often nearby. Thanks for the story Bertram.
It’s a great way to break the routine. You’ll get your mojo back.
“The camera is my tool. With it I give a reason to every thing around me.” Andre Kertesz
I think this impulse is in you, too, and the talent to pursue it. Since you are not “comfortable” where you are, I have no doubt you will find a way forward… perhaps when least you seek it.
a lone crow
in a cold rain, longing
Whenever I feel a tool doesn’t actually feel like a technical tool anymore I notice that I am seeing a lot more things and much comes naturally. The problem however with photography for me is that so much is technical driven. It will come though, I am sure Greg.
I’ve stopped my daily photo project to pursue weekly shoots in an attempt to get a whole body of works that tell a more meaningful story. No results yet but the process is more engaging than trying to squeeze out one good shot on a daily basis.
I my daily photo project I never had a goal to get the best photographs. Keeping expectations low helps when every or at least most of your photographs exceed your expectations.
I like to perceive tools as something more organic instead of a technical tool. I have no desire to have the feeling that I master my gear and post processing. It is just that I currently miss that organic feeling.
I’m a perfectionist and have high demands for my shots. Sometimes, that gets in the way of photography as I end up not shooting things that don’t look great. I’m still trying to reign in that part of me and shoot to simply capture what I see.
There is so much desire and demand for perfection. While it can be a good feature of your character, there is always the risk of requiring too much of yourself (and others).
Indeed, my friend. Demanding the perfect often hinders me or even prevents me from taking the first steps. I’m still learning how to give myself the freedom to expressing myself instead of working to get THE shot.
Well sometimes a Break in the Routine can be Good…
For years You have been a Constant Joy to my ‘Eye’
It sounds like You are Burned out and just need the Luxury of Allowing Time & Space to heal You
Relax and Enjoy the Moment… Then suddenly the Creative will will take hold of You again
Best to You & Famille
Thank you Helen. I am trying to make time and space available. Like Jamie suggested in his comments I am pondering on a photobook. Something small, but hopefully an enjoyable time to make.
Great work as usual! I nominated you for the Sunshine Award, have a look here: http://christopherribeiro.wordpress.com/2012/08/13/sunshine-award/. Looking forward to more great pics!
same as it ever was – don’t think twice, it’s all right.
All the best, titus