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  1. #21
    Saganich's Avatar
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    I wish I had such luxury. Being too busy to be uncreative, always having problems to solve, always being in the center or the center of chaos, is the only way to live. Creative stagnation is not necessarily a personal failure but rather an environmental condition which people need to fight against.
    Chris Saganich
    http://www.imagebrooklyn.com

  2. #22
    photoncatcher's Avatar
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    It happens. I've gone more than a month without touching my gear, or going in the dark room. I found out that if I force my self to "go shooting" I just end up wasting film ($$), and time. It is frustrating, but it happens to us all.

  3. #23
    Worker 11811's Avatar
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    How about going through your old negatives or contact sheets? Look at photos you have taken before. No doubt, there are pictures you have taken but you wish you had done better?

    Make a list of two or three photos that you wish you had done better... Should have been exposed differently... Should have been developed differently... Could have been shot from a slightly different angle... Etc., etc. etc....

    Just go back and reshoot a few of those old pictures that you wish you had done better.

    You will:

    1) Improve some of those photos you wish you had done better.
    2) Hone your skills by shooting familiar subjects.
    3) Hopefully find a new way of looking at old, familiar places to give you a new spark of creativity.

    Concentrate on #1.
    Work on #2 while you are at it.
    Don't worry about #3. If it happens, it happens. If it doesn't, it doesn't.

    I have two or three places I just go to shoot. I've been to those places, literally, hundreds of times. I know just about every inch of them. But, strangely, every time I go there, I find something else to look at or I will look at something I've seen a hundred times in a different way.
    Randy S.

    In girum imus nocte et consumimur igni.

    -----

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/randystankey/

  4. #24
    ishutteratthethought's Avatar
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    Go see an exhibit from one of the masters or watch a documentary or read a book about one of the masters, you will get inspired, works for me EVERY time. The exhibit thing really works the best though.
    Steve

  5. #25
    Mainecoonmaniac's Avatar
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    I face that problem all the time. Sometimes I just put down the camera and go to museums and travel to refill my creative batteries. I usually get good photos when I least expect to. Sometimes expectations of "getting the shot" makes you overlook the beauty in front of you. Another trick is to carry a camera around with you have have an intentionless intention to make photographs.

  6. #26
    markbarendt's Avatar
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    If I remember correctly, Weston described not wanting to go back to subjects he'd done before. I don't know if I'd describe that as photographer's block but I too have a tough time getting excited about "going back" to subjects I've already done.

    Similarly I shoot a lot more when I'm trying to learn something new. Once I "get it" my shot volume drops.

    The biggest frustration I have though is being "on the clock" at work when I see a shot I'd like.
    Mark Barendt, Ignacio, CO

    "We do not see things the way they are. We see things the way we are." Anaïs Nin

  7. #27

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    The same thing happens in training. One seems to hit a plateau (no longer gaining any benefits from the run, bike, weights, etc.). This usually results from overtraining. The cure is to back off the intensity for a short time. This gives the body time to recharge.

    The same thing is happening here. The remedies mentioned before should allow your brain to rest and recharge.

    Stop shooting for a short time or shoot something you don’t usually shoot should be the cure.
    Good Luck

    Mike

  8. #28
    bowzart's Avatar
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    Here are some of the things that have worked for me.

    1. Build a camera out of a sardine can or some other common object for the purpose of photographing some kind of space or place where a conventional camera can't include enough. If you've never made a pinhole camera (note: MADE, not just used one you've bought), it gives a whole new perspective, photography as sculpture.

    2. Expose a roll of film or two with no part of your body touching anything solid.

    3. Have someone blindfold you, take you to an unfamiliar place and lead you around while you use whatever vague clues that might stimulate you to think there could be something to photograph there.

    4. While we may think it "shouldn't" matter where we are, going to someplace different with no particular kind of image in mind often helps. It doesn't matter where, so much. A few of my most memorable images were made on trips to places like little towns that just about everyone thinks are boring.

    5. When I was doing long night-time commutes, I kept myself awake by shooting blind out the window of the car while driving (do NOT look through the camera!) It was surprising what I came away with.

    6. Set the camera up in a dark place, maybe the darkroom, on a tripod. Positioning yourself in front of the camera and draw in the air with a light pencil. A "maglite" type flashlight with the reflector removed works great for this. Try moving slower or faster to vary the lines quality, and toward the camera or away from it to change the size of the line. This is amazing to do with a pinhole camera. If you try the pinhole, be sure and move the light in very close to the pinhole sometimes. You will be surprised.

    7. Go to a place distinguished by your total conviction that there could not possibly be anything there to photograph. See what calls you. My wife and I once did a workshop where we chose a single block in a very desolate industrial area devoid of anything that seemed at all interesting. It was amazing what people brought back.

    8. Have someone else select images from your proof sheets, and print the ones they select. These are the ones you aren't seeing, and you could perhaps gain a new insight into your work.

    Some of these suggestions turn photography toward a rather kinetic activity, but sometimes, that might be just what we need. There are no guarantees. I often hit the skids, sometimes for extended periods. Everybody does.

  9. #29
    jp498's Avatar
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    Find some community group you can work with to provide some usefulness and purpose for the photos. Animal shelter, museum, environmental group, church, shelter, whatever suits your interests.

    As an alternative to trying new things, read new/old things. Some of the photographers of old had a style and aesthetic that you might be inspired by. Read/see it in books. See how other people are inspired on flickr, etc...

    I was sorta bored/plateued out with B&W 35mm till DSLRs along, I got hooked again at making images. Now the challenge of making high quality images with DSLRs has sorta lost a little steam. So I'm into LF now, and getting back into the darkroom for all formats.

  10. #30
    aste's Avatar
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    Wow, lots of great ideas coming in. Thanks!

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