Inspiration is life to any artist. It can also be your worst enemy. If we full rely on only creating our art when we are inspired, we’ll find that one thing happens: We don’t create. In fact, the same is true with romantic relationships. Contrary to popular Hollywood opinion, you are never in the rapture of euphoria 100% of the time. For those of you who have been married for a few years, you’ll know what I’m talking about.
There’s a place where practicing the discipline of your art must come to be a priority in your creative practices.
This has never been more true of staying inspired while staying close to home. Although Keith and I are fortunate enough to live in one of the higher rated locations for vacationers, it’s easy to take Charleston and her surrounding lowcountry for granted. Do not be fooled: Even Charleston can become commonplace to someone who lives here.
Below are three tips that we find helpful to keep things fresh, staying inspired, and maintaining consistency in your photography:
1) Create Margin to Create
This is true of both your post processing, and your field work. As mentioned above, if we only act when we’re inspired we will not only create less, but we will stunt the natural growth that occurs when we are routinely creating. Make time to get out and explore, or learn a new technique in your post processing.
Your photography is like a lake,
to be healthy, it must always have a source fresh water flowing in
and an outlet where it can flow out.
2) Cultivate Curiosity
I can personally attest to this truth: Being intentional about curiosity is key to feeding your creativity. A sure threat to your art is finding yourself in a place where you think you know everything, or worse yet, being unwilling to enter into a place of discovery. This is true with your post processing. It can be very easy to get into a rut doing the same “recipe” or using the same tools over and over, without asking “what does this image need”.
The same is true with getting out and photographing where you live.
Just this past spring, Keith and I entered into the dangerous place of thinking we knew all of Charleston and her surrounding areas. Smugly we thought: “We’ve seen it all”. It was only then that we found what we consider one of the most beautiful locations in Charleston for azaleas. The truth that came from this: Never underestimate where you live.
Just because you don’t haven’t seen it, doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist
3) Be Present
When I was working in the Mortgage Industry, it was during the 2009 Refinance Boom. The hours were long, the stress was high, and the only thing that allowed me to maintain some semblance of sanity was regularly scheduled explorations into nature. I’d come home from the office, grab my dog, grab some food, and set out to hike, walk, or drive down old back roads. It may be that I’d drive for 3 or 4 hours TRYING to get lost. There I discovered fallen logs, dilapidated tobacco barns, rusty trucks, and hidden rivers just waiting to be photographed in the light.
When your desire to be surrounded by nature becomes your priority, amazing photography will always follow’
*My deepest thanks to Mandy in our community for inspiring this post. Although it may not have answered her questions, it provoked a lot of thought. For that and the inspiration you gave me today Mandy, you have my deepest thanks.