Lockdown Blues

Like many photographers I’m sure, I found 2020 to be something of a barren wasteland when it came to creativity, making images and finding (portrait) work. I probably took as many images in the whole year as I would have in a single week previously and my writing about photography similarly, dried up.

For personal reasons 2021 has not got off to a great start but I realise that if I don’t jolt myself out of this creativity block I might as well stop altogether, sell up my gear and put the money raised to a more productive use.

Thankfully, at the start of the year I came across this video from Jamie Windsor on how to beat creative block and restart your conscious mind. You can watch the video here…

Jamie’s five tips for beating creative block are:

  1. Stop trying, have a break and do something else for a bit.
  2. Go somewhere different and change your perspective.
  3. Spend time with other people, learn something different, get “permission”.
  4. Stop worrying, your motivation (and creativity) will return. No one runs out of ideas forever.
  5. Give up bad ideas, sometimes the idea you thought was great just isn’t right. Go with that “gut-feeling” instead.

Jamie nicely sums all this up at the end with this mantra:

Think less, do more.

Jamie Windsor

Clearly 2) and 3) are somewhat tricky at present when we’re not meant to be going out anymore than necessary and not meeting up with people outside our bubbles! I think his tip 4) however is right on the money. Just stop worrying about it, go with the flow and see what happens.

Interestingly this post by Grant Scott (founder of The United Nations of Photography) backs up the above mantra:

Every time the shutter button is pressed will not and should not result in the perfect image, but the more times you do press that button, the more chance you will have that your ability to create successful images will grow.

Grant Scott

I’ve decided therefore to just let go for a bit. Stop thinking so much and just go with the flow. Of course doing more means making as many pictures as you can, even in the difficult circumstances caused by our current predicament. For me this means making sure I have a camera with me at all times – even if it is while I’m walking to/from Sainsbury’s!

Here then are a few images captured while “pressing the shutter button” and “letting go”.

Park Life No. 1
Kate’s Bench
Streaks of Trees
Lease The Railway
Long and Winding Path I
Long and Winding Path II
And Then it Snowed I
And Then it Snowed II

These images are all as local as local can be which gives me a good excuse to use these words from another photographer and YouTuber Sean Tucker:

The best images aren’t at the end of an expensive flight. They’re just around the corner from your house if you’re willing to take a walk and really see.

Sean Tucker

However the last word has to be left to the great master himself.

Photographers deal in things which are continually vanishing and when they have vanished there is no contrivance on earth which can make them come back again.

Henri Cartier-Bresson

I guess what Cartier-Bresson meant here was that the places, things and people we photograph will ultimately all vanish and we must photograph them in order to remember, or at least be reminded of them. Sometimes those maybe things we don’t remember with any fondness but nonetheless we would do well to not forget, if only to try and not repeat our mistakes.

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