I've have a hard time finding my creativity since returning home from our recent trip. Looking back, this seems to be a pretty regular occurrence for me. As I thought more about my past creative ruts, I realized there are certain things I do that always get me out of them. Here are a few of these things that consistently spark my creativity and help to get me going again.
Turning to Others
In his eBook, The Inspired Eye, David duChemin talks about increasing your inputs. The idea is to take in as much creativity as possible in order to give yourself plenty to work with. (I’m totally paraphrasing here and most likely not doing the idea justice, so you should really go and check out the eBook.) This, more than anything else, has helped me when I feel like I’m stuck creatively. I'll spend time online looking at the work of other photographers or head out to a local museum to see an art exhibit. As I observe the work of others, I almost always start to come up with ideas for work I want to make myself.
Another thing I do when I’m feeling stuck is change my routine. This can be something small like trying to shoot at mid-day when the light is not what I normally prefer or something big like shooting at a single focal length for 30 days. The thing I’ve been trying recently to change my routine is to set the color mode on my camera to black and white. Since I have the option of shooting in RAW, I can still have access to the color version if I want them, but using this color mode means everything I see on my LCD is in black and white. It may not seem like a big change but I am always amazed how different the world looks with the color taken away.
Revisiting Old Work
The thing I’ve realized is that as I change, so too does my photographic vision. When looking over my older pictures, I usually find things that catch my eye which I didn’t notice before. Images that I didn’t pay much attention to previously will now make me pause. And as I spend more and more time revisiting my old work, I also start to find themes in my work that I simply did not see before. Maybe it’s because enough time has passed and I can now see the forest from the trees, or maybe it’s because I’m learning to find commonalities in my work. Either way, revisiting my old work has not only help me find old images to work with, but has also given me ideas for new work that compliment what I already have.