The Block

Today I'm being lazy and rehashing something I posted on the APUG forums, in response to a midlife-crisis photographer's "Photographers' Block."

I have recently come to the conclusion that I am suffering from a photographer's block. I used to find inspiration in the places I was in or in the people I was with. Just lately I keep drawing a blank.

Does anyone else suffer with this problem or is it just me? Does anyone have any suggestions for getting through it? Do I just need to drink more beer?


N, don't worry about repeating past successes. The most satisfying photographs you can make are those you haven't yet made.

Such moments of "blockage" give you an excuse to re-assess (without getting mired in nostalgia or frustration), and most importantly, give you a little breather to try different sorts of things, to look at those Paths Not Taken. Imagine yourself as what you might have been — now imagine that alternative you, imagining the you that you actually are — and consider: what is the real core YOU that is shared by both versions? And what sorts of photos and ideas are central to THAT guy?

With that in mind, consider that whatever your work has been in the past, it has come about as the product of your entire person at that time — your surroundings, the people, your schedule, and how you felt about them at that time (and only peripherally, your level of photo-technical expertise).

In what ways have they changed, in what ways have your attitudes changed simply due to age, to fatigue, to arrivals and departures, or simply to outgrowing your previous levels of understanding? Which direction interests you today, in your life? Ignoring the camera, what sorts of pictures might you imagine making? What sorts of things interest you, your eye, your heart?

Okay, now pick up the camera again and remember that it is an explorer's tool, just like a compass, or a pickaxe. Like a pickaxe it can give you purchase on jagged circumstances, and can reveal things that were hidden, bringing light to the surface. Like a compass it can let you align both the world and yourself.

Let us know how it goes.

May 26, 2007



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