Do you ever feel like you somehow lost connection to inspiration? That the times you felt truly inspired feel like distant memories? I think all creatives go through this from time to time and even though I have been a creative professional for well over 21 years and I know how to spot the signs early on, it still creeps up on me if I have been particularly busy.
This time I had been writing for many months and everything felt like it was flowing easily and for that reason it was rather easy to just keep going. I forgot that to restore my inspiration and energy, I do need to take pictures and when I felt my inspiration dwindle a few weeks ago, I took action immediately. The summer had been too warm for me and proved too much for the moorlands as well and so my usual subject for the beginning of September was not as appealing as in previous years and this meant I had taken way less pictures than I usually do. Inspiration however is essential to an artist and so something had to be done....fast...
The way I deal with this is that I withdraw from social media for a while, because it adds noise to my mind and this is something that I definitely want to avoid if I want to reconnect to my inspiration. I made myself go out to take pictures even when the conditions were not the ones I prefer. I scouted a lot, visited new locations and photographed things in new ways, with different lenses, in the rain or just waiting for one minute of golden light. In short, I shook things up, stepped out of my routine and let myself just play around without any expectations of taking masterpiece photos. I know from experience that this is key to reconnecting with inspiration; to disconnect from perfectionism.
Within 2 weeks I felt like I was bursting with photographic inspiration again.
I usually take pictures on my own, I prefer it that way. I can't really create if I am not alone. This is true for most introverts, I believe. But this past Monday I met up with my friend Inge Bovens to photograph together. We had never met in person, so we did not quite know what to expect. It could not have turned out better though (well maybe if it had been super foggy). Not only was it like I had just met a kindred spirit, but I actually loved seeing our different approaches. She responded quickly to a bit of haze, I lingered a bit longer before I set up my tripod, carefully avoiding being in her frame. It made me look even more carefully than usual and this meant that I took a picture that I really like.
This is that picture
This all lead me to think again about the importance of shaking things up thoroughly if you are to stay inspired. You have to be willing to step out of what feels like routine, perhaps even as a rut and you have to let you of perfectionism. Do things differently, visit different locations or look at familiar spots with new eyes, find new angles, take pictures with a good friend, find a kindred spirit you can talk to about things you feel passionate about, grab another lens....just shake things up on a regular base and you'll see that inspiration will come back to you.
Read more about ways to stay inspired in this blog post
Did I take lots of picture I liked? No, I did not. I did however take lots of pictures that I can build upon, that I can learn from and one or two might end up in my portfolio. The only point of the past few weeks though was reconnecting to my inspiration and this worked out splendidly. For that reason I will focus entirely on taking pictures for a few weeks and I will be back after that with new inspiring blog posts.
If you want to get lots of forest photography inspiration I can highly recommend my masterclass eBook The Magic Of Forest Photography