Breaking Out of the Photographer Slump
We all have felt trapped in the daily routine, struggling with gaining new creative ideas with the goal of renew and exceed the latest photographic release. Is it exceeding own expectations or impress others? I believe both. So what happens when you fall into the photographic slump and has lost the motivation. You are dried up and can not think of new ideas for your next image. Some do collaborations, others are changing apps or take a social media break. In this article Juxt has asked five photographers and artist what they do to break out of the slump.
Personally my cure is collaborations. When my “camera roll” is empty it’s good having friends in the community to both chat with and to share photos with. Collaborations for me raise creativity and leads to new results. When I look back in my Instagram gallery I can see it changes in my style, and if I look closely I can definitely see those changes was a result of collaborations. One example is the “Moose” collaboration I did with my good friend Tom Nußbaum (aka @tomlovesyou). We shared ideas by chatted using Kik and the result was this “fake silhouette moose” as a main object in the image. I later did the “Soar like and Eagle” edit, hugely inspired by my collaboration with Tom.
Time passed and I guess your are not surprised when I tell you that I fell into a new slump. I nearly did editing until Jonny Joyce (aka @digital_editz) approached me and asked if I was interested in doing a collaboration with him. He did number of edits on my landscape photos and gave me inspiration to follow up with my own creations.
Joseph Cyr’s cure is trail-runs. He lives near a desert riparian canyon in the Santa Catalina mountains on the edge of Tucson, AZ. There’s almost always something new for him to capture. He is focused on landscape, vegetation, and wildlife. Returning to the same spot in different seasons can provide for interesting images and get you out of the slump. Here is a series of photos showing the changes from fall-to-winter-to-spring in a particular stand of cottonwoods he often run by.
Breaking the daily routine works well for Joanna Dunford (@Joanna @JustJo) and Andy Butler @mobiography). Joanna says her cure is taking photos off the cuff rather than planning a photo walk. Speed shooting helps her too: “For example, I give myself 15 minutes to shoot as many interesting things in one location in that time frame. This helps me push myself a little more and look for things I have previously missed.”
Andy forces himself out of his comfort zone to explore new areas and techniques. He says a change of location or setting up mini projects also helps to get a new perspective on things. If you shoot landscape try urban, if you shoot street then explore the countryside. Andy love the outdoors and the countryside gives him a sense of freedom which helps blow the cobweb’s away. January this year he set himself the challenge of undertaking a 365 project. “Doing this while working in a city has forced me to focus on street photography. I often feel a bit self conscious shooting in public environments so its an area that has pushed me both personally and photographically.” -Andy Butler
For Bridgette S. (@bridgettesxo) it’s a question of finding time for herself. Being with her son most of the week doesn’t allow for much space and when she got a moment for her self it takes awhile to just calm down and really get in tune with my emotions. The minute I don’t feel anything or don’t possess that motivation, the slump sets in. A few weeks ago Bridgette met with Rachel (@iwife) and Martina (@photographymama) on a photowalk and they went to go see the Vivian Maier exhibit. Bridgette expressed her slump and really, sought some advice. Martina offered a really great suggestion: Look at things from a different perspective. If you go to the same spot repeatedly then maybe get down low, get up close or try different angles. Bridgette found this helpful. She also switch apps – going from Hipstamatic and instead started to use Camera+. Again, offering a different “look” pushed her and got her to think outside the Hipsta square.
Another thing that has been a cure for Bridgette is keeping a distance. A distance from social networks. Bridgette says: “There’s so much going on, 24 hrs a day, that I don’t let myself relax when I do have that time alone. So, lately I’ve been giving myself that much needed separation. That extra breathing space does help get my thoughts in order.”
There is one thing that is the same for all five artist: Break out of your daily routine! Do something different than you normally do. Doing something different will get you rethink how you approach your artistry and will give you new results. The changes will give you new perspectives and new joy! – Atle Rønningen