Shoot Different

Avoiding stagnation in your creativity is an ongoing task.
It is very easy to settle into a rut. This is a normal but regrettable state of affairs. It is regrettable because it is so easy to do and so many ideas in our culture teach us that stability is good. Stability, perhaps yes, but stagnation no. This needs to be shaken up on a regular basis if you want to progress as a photographer. Try varying at least one thing about the way you shoot, from the lens to the subject matter, at least once a week or month. This will keep you fresh and whilst you may never want to continue an approach you try this way, you will at least have gained more experience. Plus, you never know, you just might hit the key that becomes the focus of your mature work.

And maybe even stability is not good. One concept is that life is change, constantly, and that stability is either an illusion or death. Certainly this can be the case creatively.

So it is very important to try different things. Don’t just be an armchair photographer. When you read something that resonates with you in some way, go and try it. You don’t have to wait until circumstances are perfect to try something.

Now here is something else to think about. A school of thought in the personal development movement says that it is the very things that you do not resonate with, that do not appeal, but in fact repel you strongly, that you should pursue for maximum growth. It is effectively saying that when you strike something that provokes a very strong, negative response that this indicates that you have hit an internal block. This is a tough path but perhaps a worthwhile one. The theory goes that it is in fact the things we resist the most that will help us to find out the most about ourselves, our creativity and our art. It does not mean you will continue to do it but that the process of confronting this block will unveil interesting things about yourself and help you to grow.

All the above are things I do on a regular basis across a range of areas of my life, from my photography and art to my spiritual beliefs. I will take on a different, often very confronting idea and wear it for a few days, take it out for a test drive, if you like. I’ll pick ideas, techniques or photography subjects that I react against and give them a road test. At the end of a couple of days or a week I may decide they are not for me, but I will have learned something useful about myself in the process and have expanded my experience, my photography or my thinking in the process.

Give it a go and see if it produces results for you.

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