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Old 23rd April 2011, 11:18 AM
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Default Street (Water, Water Everywhere but Not a Drop to Drink)

I must say that I have been in a creative rut/funk for quite some time now. Last week I took the train into NYC to have a walk and shoot a roll of 35mm. I figured I could shoot a 24 exposure roll, no problem. Well, I came back having shot only 4 and all of those in the train station. This was just another day of many similar outings void of anything inspiring or creative. I was angry with myself all week and ready to sell all my gear. Photography is after all an expensive activity and it makes no sense for me pursue it if this the best I can do!

Yesterday, I decided to give it another try and went back into the city. I really expected the same... just walk around and not be inspired to shoot anything. So I just started walking fully expecting to never take out my camera, however, after two blocks I found a scene that I stayed at for 45 minutes. And then I came across another... and another... I only quit after the light became too harsh but I could have gone on all day.

It only dawned on me this morning what was different about yesterday. Previously, I had been trying to find and photograph MY aesthetic and vision in NYC. But, yesterday I had no expectations and simply photographed what the city offered - the good, the bad , and the ugly. Interesting how when searching for nothing I then saw everything. Sort of like life: focus on one thing and you are oblivious to everything else.

So, I will never go out to deliberately shoot anything, rather, I will just take the camera along in case I see something interesting.

[It is also interesting that yesterday I was shooting MF on a tripod -- kind of goes against all the conventional wisdom of street photography but I have become more comfortable shooting this way than with handheld 35mm.]
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Old 23rd April 2011, 05:03 PM
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Thanks for sharing Mark.

I find these kind of threads encouraging and will turn to your thoughts and words when going through one of my own dry spells. Though they often feel more like a drought!
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Old 23rd April 2011, 05:40 PM
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Some of my most successful shoots have been on days when I wasn't particularly enthusiastic about my photography, like Mark I just went with the flow and had fun. Trying too hard is bad in any artistic pursuit and having a particular image in your mind ultimately leads to a frustrating days work.

Glad it's not just me who go through these disappointing spells.

Steve
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Old 23rd April 2011, 06:17 PM
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I think we have all hit the creativity wall at some stage, it takes some of us a little longer to scramble over it than others, and some don't make it at all. I recommend a new (another) camera/format/film.
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Old 23rd April 2011, 06:33 PM
Richard Gould Richard Gould is online now
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Mark,
We all get dry spells, I know I do, and for me it sometimes takes a long coastal walk with just a camera, not looking for any photographs, maybe not even thinking about taking photographs, just a camera with me ''just in case'' and things just happen and it breaks the spell, which often starts because I am trying to hard, and find myself taking photographs for the sake of pressing the shutter button,
Richard
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Old 23rd April 2011, 07:54 PM
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Don't sell the kit....... If the only pressure is from you to take photos, then no worries. We all struggle with purpose at some point, and thankfully a new perspective on photography (or life) appears round the corner, or around the headland for all us coastal walkers.
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Old 23rd April 2011, 09:57 PM
Mike O'Pray Mike O'Pray is offline
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I have been taking a reasonable amount of photos in the last 7 years and think I am getting better but I have not yet been able to rank the shots taken correctly with the prints at the other end. In other words the shots I rank top never seem to come out that way when printed.

I am nearly always surprised by which prints I like the best compared to how I thought the shot would look as a print.

I am not sure that I want the surprise element to go away.

Mike
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Old 24th April 2011, 11:27 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark-NY View Post
So, I will never go out to deliberately shoot anything, rather, I will just take the camera along in case I see something interesting.
I'd never hang my hat on this hook. Rather go out and try for the deliberate shoot and fail than not to bother at all. But always always be prepared to develop whatever opportunity presents itself.
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Old 24th April 2011, 12:51 PM
Richard Gould Richard Gould is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JimW View Post
Don't sell the kit....... If the only pressure is from you to take photos, then no worries. We all struggle with purpose at some point, and thankfully a new perspective on photography (or life) appears round the corner, or around the headland for all us coastal walkers.
Far from selling I am adding to my kit,Just got a Ensign Selfix 820, love the big 6x9 negative,
Richard
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Old 25th April 2011, 09:50 AM
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Don't worry all - I am not selling my gear! The plan is to go out more and expect less... react to what is offered rather than try to fit it into anything preconceived.

Thanks! Mark
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