Forcing myself out of a creative drought

As a commercial photographer, I sometimes feel like I am the luckiest guy in the world… I love what I do, and I cant believe its my job! That being said, there can be months that go by, and I don’t pick up my camera and create for myself, and there comes a point where I really need to re-charge, and force myself to find the time, energy, and opportunity to create new work, even if I DON’T KNOW WHERE TO BEGIN!!

Way too often, my procrastination comes from these inner thoughts- “where would I start?”, ” I don’t have anything interesting around me to shoot”, “my work is terrible, and I should just quite (haha, this is daily FYI)”, “lets just wait, I will sketch out some concepts, then gather some materials/props”, etc…. ALL of these are valid excuses to talk myself out of shooting, but they are just that… excuses.

Ill be honest, as I was forcing myself to take advantage of some down time and create some personal work, I just wasn’t feeling it… My wife even asked me (as I was aimlessly walking around the studio gathering some items), “what are you doing?”, and I literally had no idea, I said “ creating” (thats the best I could come up with without sounding like an idiot). I just knew I had to start moving lights around, and wait for the creative mind to tell me what to do instinctually.

Its a little like when I would pick up the pencil to draw, and I really had know idea what I wanted to draw… but I would make a line and another line, and eventually a lot of lines that start giving me ideas… next thing you know I off in my own world, engaged in another level of thought, creating from the subconscious.

For me, I have always found myself to be most creative when I am under some limitations… like money, time, gear, space, or in this case a subject. I gave myself the restriction of coming up with something that I already have in the studio… and with that, I started with leaves, then got the idea of pairing it with what is essential in nature, and what gives it life… Water. This collection I ended up shooting brought me back to the basics of the pure magic of the photograph, and the process behind capturing the essence of a subject with a click. I knew as soon as I added the water, my subconscious mind took over, and was on a quest to create something tranquil, and harmonious. I need to create something I could feel… and for that reason alone, these images are successful.

Anyways, I wanted to share some of the images from the shoot, some behind the scenes, as well as some of my thoughts, because I imagine I am not alone in this creative roller coaster.

-David

“Trust the Process”- Tom Petit