Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Photographic Inspiration, where Are You?

What Do You Mean "Photographic Inspiration?"

Last time, Bianca explained how creating art for a client versus creating art for one's self varies. This difference in scope is something I have also talked about. We're coming back to it today to emphasize the element of photographic inspiration.

By "photographic inspiration" we mean the motivating factor - the drive - behind you taking a photo. This might sound self-obvious, but there are too many things we do out of habit without realizing, so talking explicitly about it is necessary.

Photography, like any kind of art, is about
thoughts, feelings, states of mind.
Furthermore, remember that photographic inspiration is not a binary switch. In other words, it doesn't exist in an on/off state - "I am super-inspired to take photos" versus "I have zero inspiration to take photos". There is a gray area - or a gradient, if you'd like! If you build enough momentum, that is, inspiration, it will eventually cause you to get off the couch, go into the trouble of packing your gear, get out (remember SWAGO?) and take pics.

Where Does Photographic Inspiration Come from?

I have no idea. Oh well, perhaps I can specify: I have no idea where your photographic inspiration comes from. This is something you have to name yourself. But I can offer you the tools to do so. Inspiration for photography, as in every other kind of art, comes from a simple (yet infinitely complex) thing:
Inspiration to Create Art Is Inspiration to Change Reality
You don't like the way you feel? You take photos that show a different emotion.
You don't like the thoughts you make? You take photos that channel a different thought.
You don't like the way your mind drifts? You take photos to concentrate.

In a way, photography (like any art) is an answer to a problem. The... problem is knowing what problem you're trying to deal with. You see, all these things I'm describing here are highly abstract and, to some extent, aspects of the unconscious. The more directly you can face them and talk about them, the easiest it will become to understand them.

So, how Do I Become more Inspired to Take Photos?

Again, I can't answer that question for you - and nobody else can either. You must provide the answers yourself. Perhaps a good idea would be to challenge yourself while you take photos. Ask yourself, "why do I take this picture?" and if you can't provide an answer related to thoughts, feelings, or states of mind (in other words: affect), then you must not take the picture. I see so many people just grabbing their brand new Nikon D500 and going out not because they have something to say but because they have a camera.

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