what do you do when you are in a rut?

Discussion in 'Ethics and Philosophy' started by destroya, Sep 6, 2013.

  1. destroya

    destroya Subscriber

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    my photo mojo seems to be missing. I decided I was going to go out for the day and shoot a few weekends ago. got up in the morning, had a cup of coffee and sat down to think of where I could go. Nothing came to mind. every place i thought about came, I came up with ideas about why I shouldnt go there. and I could not come up with a new idea. well, I did have some new ideas, but shot them down. To far to drive, not good lighting or some other excuse. I spend a few hours a week thinking of places to go, things to try..... nothing. I did sign up for an advanced B&W class at the local junior college (who has a real amazing film/photography department) to force me back into things.

    so how do i change things up? I told myself i was going to try a new B&W developer, so i needed to shoot some rolls to try it out. Nothing interesting on the rolls. maybe one keeper out of 60+ shots. bland photos. pix an ass like me would normally criticize as being taken by a digital shooter chimping. can you say hypocrite? :blink:

    what to do? can i see the photography shrink?
     
  2. cliveh

    cliveh Subscriber

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    Why not set yourself a project which is perhaps not dependent on particular places? Such as, produce 50 shots in a portfolio book on tone and texture in black & white. By doing this it may give you other ideas.
     
  3. bobwysiwyg

    bobwysiwyg Subscriber

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    Or have someone you know (in my case my wife) select a subject. I had her do it once. Told her to give it some thought, not to be "too" specific. She spent a day or so thinking about it then shared it with me. Worked out well. No prize winners resulted,:tongue: but it was kind of fun going with a direction set by someone else.
     
  4. Vilk

    Vilk Member

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    nothing to shoot around san jose? wow. come to toronto for a while--you'll be shooting like mad when you're back home :laugh:

    just go for a walk. camera in pocket, but you're going for a walk. don't even think about shooting. keep doing it day after day, just walking, looking at people, talking to people, joining philosophical discussions or saying fluff about the weather--until one day you'll just pull out the camera and start shooting again. let the pictures do the driving, don't shoot because you have a plan

    for now, the important part is to put it away (while keeping it close :cool:)

    ps. and if it never comes back, there's nothing wrong with it either
     
  5. Kyle M.

    Kyle M. Member

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    I've recently wandered into the same rut, my problem is I'm fairly picky about what I shoot, and I've for the most part shot everything I can find locally. Now don't get me wrong some days I go out and see alot of subjects to shoot and other days I see a few or none at all. My solution? I sent out scouts, just this morning my grandfather called to tell me that he had found some old half burnt factory that sounds pretty interesting, I'm headed that way after work, and good thing too I haven't shot a frame in almost two weeks. Sometimes you have to drive a little ways, personally I love to drive but money has been tight lately.
     
  6. Ken Nadvornick

    Ken Nadvornick Subscriber

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    Photography is communication. For it to work, you must have something to say. What you want to say need not be earth-shattering in importance. Nor even of any interest to others. But you must have something.

    Do you know what it is you want to say?

    Don't bother picking up a camera until you do...

    :smile:

    Ken
     
  7. Bill Burk

    Bill Burk Subscriber

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    Go to the upcoming George Tice and Paul Caponigro shows.
     
  8. jp498

    jp498 Member

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    Part of the fun of photography is that it helps you find beauty you would not have noticed if you didn't make the effort. I live essentially in a postcard; the coast of Maine, but I don't look for postcard photos. Tired of that long ago. I just go for walks with my camera, and not to hunt beauty, but with the idea that beauty is everywhere, and I need to find the composition or combination that shows it well in silver.

    If you don't think the lighting is right, it should only be be known because you've already been there every hour of the day at one time or another, otherwise it's an excuse. Even if the lighting is wrong, you can still scout things out or discover subjects you weren't thinking about. I don't spend time thinking up places to go. I've got five stomping grounds I'm game for visiting anytime, all just minutes from home. I've been to each of them a dozen or more times or perhaps hundreds, but still find something worthy of some film. Essentially, think of Thoreau. He couldn't travel far without cars or planes. He went on simple walks or staycation adventures regularly and continually managed to absorb amazement from the surroundings. He used a pen, we use cameras. Read his very short walking book for some inspiration.

    As a photographer, on LFPF, jcoldslabs claims to never venture more than a mile or two from his urban home and is always covering new ground creatively.

    I went to San Jose last year and had a great time along the coast after a short drive west to Santa Cruz. Very nice photography. The rolling hill farmland south and west of San Jose was quite inspiring as well. I didn't have a chance to see what was east of the city. I spent half a day at point lobos but could easily spend weeks.
     
  9. DWThomas

    DWThomas Subscriber

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    I'd say things come and go. First, don't stew over it or beat yourself up about it -- it's supposed to be fun!

    Second, keep open eyes and mind as you travel through your daily routine with or without a camera. Several months back I was driving through a neighboring town on a mundane mission when I just happened to glance up and note morning light really enhancing the appearance of a turret on a probably century old house. I made a note of it, and it admittedly took a while, but I eventually went back and took shots looking up at several such roof lines -- now my "Towers and Turrets" series! Three of them are currently hanging in a juried show and I have noted more candidates in other nearby towns. (Only problem is to avoid running into something whilst driving around looking at rooftops! :whistling: )

    Third, try a radical departure from your usual, whatever that may be. Usually photograph neat old buildings? Move in and shoot macros of old locks, bricks or door hinges. Like flowers -- do a closeup study on leaves. Usually do portraits -- shoot some old rusty cars or railroad rolling stock. In short, stir up the pot a little.

    No charge for this distillation of 72 years accumulated dubious wisdom. :D
     
  10. mesantacruz

    mesantacruz Subscriber

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    I think the class will help you realize how much there is to photograph.

    I do recommend that you begin to form an idea as to a portfolio, which although not well defined (for the sake of creativity), should have a theme which people can take note of without having to tell them other than through your photos.

    I sometimes feel like im in a rut, but after realizing the lack of time, i've a certain urge to do as much as possible (concerning photography).
     
  11. Neil Souch

    Neil Souch Subscriber

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    Just take out an old friend of a camera to a loved location and shoot some film. Whatever you do don't stop being creative and the thrill will come back. We are all affected by this from time to time and you need to see through the mist - making images is the only way forward - not sitting at home thinking about them!

    Best of luck and let us know how it all works out

    Neil.
     
  12. Hatchetman

    Hatchetman Subscriber

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    The hardest part is getting out of the damn house....there are a million potential excuses...too tired, too late, nowhere to go, etc, etc...
     
  13. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser

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    nothing wrong with making photographs close to home, either IN your house or around the yard.
    i rarely make it out more than my yard .. or inside ( or down the street ). if i am lucky i go about 6 miles away, but i don't see the point
    seeing there is plenty to see and photograph right under my nose.
    the other thing to do when im in a rut is something completely different. instead of using a camera, get a couple of oz of cyanotype fluid,
    coat some paper or cloth or whatever .. and make some photograms, or use some photo paper and make some lumen or retina prints ..
    don't bother with the camera .. and nothing to PRINT so you won't feel guilty ... no film lying around to process, or 1000 negatives to print.

    you could always cook dinner ..
     
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  15. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    I do nothing, and go out without a camera. It's surprising how fast you want to then make images.

    Ian
     
  16. Vilk

    Vilk Member

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    bingo :cool:
     
  17. Newt_on_Swings

    Newt_on_Swings Member

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    This is what it is all about! What a great way to think!
     
  18. Iluvmycam

    Iluvmycam Member

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    OP, 1 in 60 is not bad. I sometimes will take a break with some photo books. But nothing beats getting out there to shoot. Good luck!
     
  19. Wade D

    Wade D Member

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    Being in a rut is nothing new to me. My solution has been to go back through 40+ years of negatives to find new interpretations of old subjects. If you're new to photography this obviously doesn't work.
    For the past several years, since bypass surgery, I've had a rough time being motivated to take any of my cameras out. I feel fine, just lacking in ambition to create new images. A lot of times I take a walk and just let my eyes be the camera. If something strikes me as a good subject it is noted and a follow up visit with a camera is made.
    Don't push yourself into the need to make images just because you are there. Lack of motivation/ambition has resulted in fewer images but more of them tend to be keepers.
     
  20. ROL

    ROL Member

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    what do you do when you are in a rut?


    Dig deeper.
     
  21. Ken Nadvornick

    Ken Nadvornick Subscriber

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    Inverted First Rule of Holes??

    :wink:

    Ken
     
  22. dances_w_clouds

    dances_w_clouds Subscriber

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    A new lens always gives me inspiration/excuse to do more shooting. If not I try a different film @ a different max/min speed to mix up the variables that can occur. Another way out is to MOVE to a new residence and start over again ;o)
     
  23. Bill Burk

    Bill Burk Subscriber

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    Reminds me of the lessons in driving I got from my mom *who would drive a Cadillac on the dirt road up Trabuco Canyon to Holy Jim* ...

    At night the headlights will show the biggest rocks, and the ruts will be dark.

    Drive left and right as necessary to put at least one of the wheels on the ridge between the ruts. Left or right depends which side the big rocks are ahead. You want to avoid the trouble.
     
  24. silveror0

    silveror0 Member

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    Mojo defined: a magic spell, hex, or charm.

    Don't rely on magic in this case. This takes me back to one of several AA workshops, in which an assistant (Al Weber) conducted a group discussion by asking "Why do you photograph?" I was caught with my mouth hanging open, without having really thought about it. Don't know if this applies in your case, but many are caught up in GAS and if they ever get to the point where they've "got enough gear" they may be stumped by "what to do with it all." Others are satisfied with just messing with processes, that's okay too. But in the end it becomes a question of "are you satisfied with your results?" And if a photographer doesn't have a clear goal in mind for results, (s)he can feel a little lost. And I think this is what Al was driving at. Years later I read that a person who is successful (meaning goals achieved) (s)he knows the WHY, not just the HOW. I'm not preaching (not qualified), just hope this may help.
     
  25. ROL

    ROL Member

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    Unfortunately, a little too deep for this crowd.
     
  26. eddie

    eddie Subscriber

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    Wow...