A Time to Photograph…Nothing

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It’s a rough week: Too much time at the office, your kids have been especially needy, and you missed an episode of your favorite show. You just don’t feel motivated to do anything, even the hobby that you love. This is no time for forced inspiration. This is no time for yoga breathing techniques. Now is the time to do…

…nothing.

Creative endeavors like photography are not systematic processes. It is a creative process, and you need to be inspired and motivated to do it right. If you force yourself to practice your art at a time where you’re mind isn’t entirely willing, you’re only going to hurt yourself. Especially if you cannot achieve exactly what you want. Frustration builds, then resentment – pretty soon you find yourself in a creative funk. We don’t like creative funks; they’re a bitch to get out of.

I of course speak from experience. Photography, as you know, is not my primary career. For my day job, I am a Landscape Architect specializing in Land Development. Like many of you, our company had to downsize over the last few years, and I lost the majority of my staff (read: I’m the only one left). My department has been hit really hard these past few weeks as the economy builds. That’s a good thing, but in the short term that means I’m the one doing all the work. Alone. It involves late hours at the office well after the air conditioning has been shut down. So I get home late at night – sometimes after my wife has taken her nightly trip to dream land – and photography is far from my mind. I’m thinking about games, the television, or even sleep myself. Such conditions are no place for a creative release.

So if you find yourself in such a situation and you’re just not motivated to be creative – take a step back. Sometimes, you are close to the edge and you can do simple things to get yourself motivated. But don’t try to hard. Because if you have no chance of becoming motivated – no chance of being creative that night – then you’re only digging yourself into a hole. And you should take a break. Go play your games, veg out, visit the bar or sleep. Do whatever it is that your mind desires. It will thank you the next day and possibly reward you with some creative energy.

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About Author

D. Travis North is a professional Landscape Architect, a Freelance Photographer and founder of Shutter Photo. Ever since he picked up his first SLR, his father's Nikon N2000, he's been hooked on photography. Travis likes to photograph urban environments, architectural details and has a new-found interest in close-up photography. His work can be found at D. Travis North Photography. Follow Travis on twitter: @dtnorth.

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