Sometimes I wonder, where did I get it from. I remember when I was a child and my father used to take me with him to the darkroom to develop film. He loved to take photos and enjoyed his time developing them. I grew up in Western New York, in the suburbs of Buffalo where the photography community was pretty much non-existent. Forget about a community of African American photographers. So I guess it's not surprising that I was never inspired to take up photography.
That was the point when I decided to plan at least one or two creative shoots a month for myself and my soul. When I did that, something changed. I felt more excited. I wanted to run into my studio every morning and just create. After that, I was giving even more to my clients in their sessions and as a whole. I had re-lit that fire I had for photography and creativity. It’s easy to lose ourselves in client work and tell ourselves we don't have the time or energy to shoot anything for ourselves. I’m here to tell you: shoot for yourself. Collaborate, get weird, or just do something outside of your comfort zone.
That feeling of world-weariness, or ennui, that I discussed in a previous article can get to all of us from time to time. It can feel as if you are no longer making progress or your work is no longer exciting. That might mean it is time to feed the artistic side of your brain and take a break from your typical work. It’s time to stretch your creativity to keep yourself fresh and excited about what you do.
Just like writers or painters, photographers can run into creative blocks and get stuck in a rut. These creative ruts can last days or even weeks, and in extreme cases of creative drought can also lead to loss of interest in photography altogether. But even if you are always busy with photography, new sources of inspiration can energize and invigorate your spirit and take your work in a new and unexpected direction.