March 16th, 2017 … Re-kindling the Light of Inspiration … Fuji X100F

I get kinda edgy when I read or hear about someone saying they need to go to exotic places to make photos. For me it’s always been in the heart and mind that feeds the eye. Of course I like to travel to erotic places….ummmm errr exotic places but not doing that requires a temperament and a drive to work under all circumstances. When I was actively teaching work shops, I made a few procedures to reinstate the inspiration to work. I feel it is critical to vision to be able to uncover thoughts and find the photos in areas where on is constantly working.

Many get what writers call The Block. It’s not a sweet thing to deal with be we can over come it with diligence and patience. The first step in overcoming any kind of block is to recognize and accept that you are in a block. This is not for the light hear-ted. Many will tell you to take a break, put the camera down. Others will say to do something other then what you do. For instance, if you do street, do garden, or portraits etc. Others might say, eat pizza and drink beer.

Well, I see all those methods as a justification for not addressing your real love, photography. What I mean is, if you love something and it starts to have issues, you need to work those issues out and find a path to productivity again. You need to find “The Light of Inspiration” once again.

I always listened to the people I respected and still do. I may have been a bad boy because listening and doing what they say was always different to me. My mom was a Frank Sinatra fan and always played his music. I started to like it at a young age. The one day, when all things in the universe started to come together, I mean the clouds got dark and the ground warm, the flowers pointed upwards, dogs stopped barking, parents too… and then, then coming from the record player, Frank was singing…”I did it my way”. Well, in my mind Frank was telling me to do it my way, mom didn’t agree and told me he was not singing to me directly and that I was responsible to still do it her way.

So, I came up with a method of re-kindling the light of inspiration.

Here it is in a nutshell but it’s a good one.

Day 1 …. Go into a room that is quiet and do not do anything but sit and look around for 1 hour. No camera, radio, cellphone television, nada. Nothing but your self. In about 15 minutes you might start to get bored. In 30 minutes you will send a hit squad out to get me. No books, mag etc. Just you and the room. After maybe 30 or so minutes, you might start to look at things more closely and maybe even make photos in your head. Do it. Frame, look at everything and relax. No input other then your eye, heart and mind and muster up. If you have a partner and kids etc, you may want to stay longer and it’s ok.

Day 2 …. Go back into the room with your camera. Sit and relax and repeat the Day 1 1 hour exercise but this time, use the camera to frame and stuff. No photos to be made. Just use the camera to see but not to record even if your next masterpiece is there. Just see and enjoy that on it’s own.

Day 3 …. Go back in to sanctuary as you now know it and spend the hour seeing like Day 2. This time, make 1 photo, just one and now you should be hungry but just 1 photo. You can process this 1 photo and nothing else.

Day 4 …. Go to sanctuary and have your camera, (best if it’s named but not required) …. Now breathe and make 6 photos not of the same thing but 6 what you feel are keepers. Make this last an hour. Not less. Process the photos.

Day 5 …. Sit in sanctuary with your photos and study them. Try to feel the experiences of the days and how you reacted to time and the energy of the room and how it effected you and you it. At what level do these photos work? How would others see them? Do you feel right about them? Do they represent you and your life during the experience?

Make sure that you do not make any photos other then the exercise. So for like 5 days, don’t do anything but this project. If you do this and need to talk to some one about it and your results, Im available.

I’m not dropping Paul Strand’s name here cause that’s tacky maybe, nah…. Strand sometimes made a series of photos of dishes, fruit etc. He saw each individual photo as a life of it’s own. Maybe the photos were grouped in a series but as like people, each is an individual and we need to deal with it as such. I’m not putting anything else about the visual exercise because I don’t want to set up preconceptions for those that may use it.

You will know who did this because you will see The Light of Inspiration in their work.

Peace all…………..


14 thoughts on “March 16th, 2017 … Re-kindling the Light of Inspiration … Fuji X100F”

  1. Hi Streetshooter, Not that I have run in to the block yet,but I will remember your advice, I’m sure that,as a beginner, it will help when the inevitable happens.
    Also,I love the first picture in your post,it reminds me of the cover of Steely Dan’s album The Royal Scam,it for you are familiar with it.
    Cheers, Ian Miller.

    1. Ian,
      Thanks for the comment. Not sure I remember that cover but then again, maybe that’s what triggered my shot. dunno.
      Many will read about this method but few will actually do it.

  2. Some good advice here Don. Will have to give it a try next time I feel like i’m in a “block”. Right now my major block is the weather. Got my Pen F battery charging up – it is sunny out – but only 25 degrees F. Supposed to get up to 40 so will see. I really want to get out today. As far as exotic places – Ya, I sometimes wish I was living in NYC or San Francisco or Paris or London etc. But living where I am just means I have to work a little harder to find and make those good street shots. They’re out there – just have to find them. Take care.

    1. Ahhhh, the Pen F… no block for you Dave. Weather here is about the same as for you. I’ll be out tomorrow and see what I can see. Good light….

  3. The Photographer’s Block…I iused to think that my town wasn’t big enough, too boring… I even went to the nearby major city just because I was sure that I would make terrific shots overthere. Well I got borred as well overthere… I was the only one to blame for not being able to see things. A lot is going on in the streets wherever you are. One just have to pay attention. Today I was outside and I was lacking inspiration and was only shooting Shit. I was about to give up and get back home and call it a bad day, but I decided to have a quick lunch and got back to street. By the end of the day, I got one good shot. Surely not a great one, but a decent one. It makes me happy ! So my point is what is a Photographer’s Block ? You don’t want to go outside shooting or you’re only taking crap photographs ? Personnaly I’m always happy outside shooting so far. If I don’t get anything interesting, I was able to walk my camera !
    Take care Don !

    1. Jean, I get it for sure. The thing is there exist a shooters block. It’s serious for many. So many will succumb to the block and dust it off for a spell and then face it again and again. Next thing ya know, they are painting the bathroom.
      I won’t say much more cause there’s another post on the way about this stuff.

      Thanks, and good light….don

  4. Such inspiring heartfelt words Don, thanks for sharing as always. If I ever suffer from block my PenF and I try to shoot through it, maybe changing locations or lenses as I can’t stop shooting!!
    PS am enjoying my subscription to Inspired Eye. Best wishes from England !

  5. “The Block” is hell. I went through it for months. I started to think I was done with photography and even sold my camera, which was a truly stupid move. I just needed to exercise patience and I would start to feel inspired again. Just sitting and observing, not taking pictures, is the best advice you can give to someone suffering from “the block”.

    1. Tina, I follow your blog so I know what you are/went thru. I’m glad you decided to listen to your heart and not your mind and stayed in photography.
      I rather like your words and photos that tell of your daily adventures. I always find it interesting and entertaining.

      Good light my friend….

  6. Hey Dan this is the most important post you have written in a while. Forget the Block, this project is valuable on its own. Seeing in all-too-familiar places: difficult but the most rewarding.
    BTW it will also teach a lot about light condiions, unless we do it strictly at the same time with identical weather conditions.
    Will start tomorrow, man. Will let you know!

    1. Gio, thanks my friend. Funny but I have 9 people that want assistance with the BLOCK Breaker project.
      Anyway, good luck and keep in touch, good light Gio……

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.