Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Inspired to Create


Lately I've been binging on inspiration like it were chocolate. And if I'm honest, I've been on a chocolate binge too.

Chocolate is good for you. I maintain that it is a vegetable (all those antioxidants! - and yes, I am eating the 85% darkest of dark varieties...I like chocolate like I like my men. Rich.), but if you eat too much of it, it still makes you fat (why don't the rest of the vegetables do that to you???) and while it feeds the hunger in my soul, I can't live on it alone (although I try).

Inspiration is good too. It has been feeding my soul for the last few weeks. However, like chocolate, it can't take the place of real sustenance. The more time I spend looking for inspiration (usually on the life-sucking force we all know as Pinterest), the less time I spend creating, which is the real soul food. And it leaves me feeling empty and not-so-good about myself, like a hangover. That's it, I have an inspiration hangover.

I went to inspiration because I was stuck. I have been working on designing a real website to show the world I am a serious photographer. Except nothing that I've come up with feels like me. So I did what everyone does these days...created a Pinterest board to find myself. And scrounged around the internet to find things to put on it. And when I didn't feel like working on my website-inspiration-boards, I tried to plan our wedding, using wedding-inspiration-boards. I spent so much time on the internet, I neglected the other things that make me happy, like taking pictures.

And then three things happened: the fix, Ben's sister came home, and this blog post. And I was cured.

Okay, I oversimplified. But I realized a few things that pulled me out of the inspiration rut.

- There is no right way to do things. Just because everyone else has a blog or a website that looks a certain way or follows a specific format, or is built using a certain program, does not mean that I have to do it that way. If Photoshop stifles my creative process, then I need to break out the pencil and sketchbook, or whatever allows me to feel free to imagine. If the internet and Pinterest feel too big and I struggle to find things I like (which is based on what everyone else is liking at any given moment), that's okay. I can start smaller and take my camera to the mall or out on a walk to take pictures of things that I love to print out and put post-its all over. It's not about the right way, it's about my way and what works.

- Let the things you like inspire your work. A lot of artists talk about personal projects and how important they are to improving the work you get paid for. I've always wanted one, but never knew what do, because I don't have a good reason for liking any of the strange things that I fancy (and really, does anyone have a good reason?). But lately I've been thinking about breaking out my little collection of toy cameras (ah, that picture above makes sense now!) and playing around again. Toy cameras fascinate me because there is a wonderful polarity between intention and happy accident...not to mention a lovely vintage and experimental quality to the pictures they produce. My favorite pictures (below) were all taken with some type of experimental/inexpensive/toy photography apparatus. And I want more.

- Style isn't found, it's created. Go read that blog post I referenced, then come back. No really, do it.




So here's to changes...small ones each day. Creating something everyday, even if it doesn't make it to the final product. Because the path doesn't matter. It's just about getting there.

Happy Tuesday!

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