Overcoming photographers block.

A photographer is like a fish, he lays thousands of eggs hoping that one will grow to maturity – Anonymous

I wonder what the equivalent of a writer’s block is for a photographer? As painter I am often daunted by the blank canvas.  The only way to get a painting started is to make a mark, any mark, on the canvas. 

When I am out taking pictures, it can sometimes  be just as hard  to get a photo.  My only preconceived idea is to take photos that show a sense of time and place. Digital photography allows many ways of doing this;  shooting a lot of images is not a problem. So making a mark is not what stops me; it’s finding the right conceptual idea.  

I have two choices; either I click away in the hope of capturing something special in the process, or I slow down and observe what is around me. Both methods will result in images, but usually with different outcomes.  

My way out of this dilemma is to remind myself what is visually important, and finding my rhythm is my guide.  If I am setting out to do street photography, I may choose to concentrate on taking photos of emotions, colour or gestures.  Focusing on the one concept limits my options and strengthens my visual narrative.  I am usually in favour of slowing down and taking less photos if I find myself stuck.  

The second option, is to just shoot away and work with a fast rhythm. This method can also serve to unlock the creative process.  When I use this method there is no time to think, I only react.

As with most artistic processes, it’s all about selection and curation, even as I am shooting.  I also have to trust my instincts and let the camera do it’s work.  My best images usually come when I don’t think too  much.

Call it stage fright, camera shy or a creative block, finding my visual rhythm liberates my imagination. 

Photo: A ‘ Quick’ Silver Moment R.W. Schatz 

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