The American Society of Media Photographers provides this forum to encourage the development of critical skills and to foster new ideas. Our goal is an informed and savvy professional photography community.
[by Gail Mooney]
We all get stuck every now and then. When I’m stuck, and it seems like all of a sudden my mind is void of any ideas that excite me, I remind myself that it’s probably time to change something. Usually, what I need to do is to change my perspective or the way I look at things. That could mean that I change what I choose to photograph or how I choose to shoot it. Or it could mean that I make a change in another area of my life like a change of my environment.
I have also learned what doesn’t work when I get stuck and that is to do nothing. When I find myself in a routine that doesn’t bring value to my life anymore, I know it’s time that I need to do something about it.
Here are some things I do that help me find inspiration when I get stuck:
- I take a walk in nature – This helps me if I’ve been immersed in technology, like video editing, for long periods of time. Staring at a computer screen isn’t going to give me the creative answers I need, because I get too narrowly focused on the minutia. A walk in the woods does wonders.
- I don’t try to force creativity – I know that I have creative and non-creative cycles. I also know that some times when I’m in a slump, I shouldn’t try to fight it. I take a break and do something mindless and that seems to free up ideas.
- I place myself in a new situation or environment – That could mean taking a trip into NYC or further afield. Or it could mean attending an event that will stimulate my mind.
- I get together with a friend or colleague – This always gives me a big boost. Brainstorming with others energizes me and gets my creative juices flowing.
- I see a movie, a play, a dance performance or go to an art museum – anything that will stimulate my senses.
- I talk with high school or college kids – I am on the advisory board of YPA (Young Photographers Alliance) and it’s always a treat to speak with these young emerging photographers who are just beginning their careers.
- I get away from the whiners and the people who have lost their passion for life.
Gail Mooney has been a photographer and filmmaker for over 30 years. Her latest book The Craft and Commerce of Video and Motion helps still photographers who are thinking about getting into motion.
[by Bruce Katz]
My inspirational revelation came long ago when I began guitar lessons. I had just seen an amazing guitar player (Danny Gatton) in concert the night before my weekly lesson and casually remarked to my teacher that I like to burn my guitar, as I’d never get to be that good. Without missing a beat, my teacher starting playing some signature Gatton licks and said that instead of burning his guitar after seeing Danny play he called him up and arranged for a few lessons. He went on to show me how he applied those lessons to his own playing style, and then took the basic musical concepts and distilled them for my lesson that day.
That concept of taking positive inspiration out of seeming distant, unachievable goal has stuck with me for a long time.
Keeping those positive goals in the forefront is actually very hard to achieve. The opposite instinct, “headtrash” as my Sandler business instructor, Bob Heiss, likes to call it is much more common. Simply put “headtrash” is negative thinking and being closed off to new ideas. Unless you can overcome this negative energy you will never be able to put inspiring ideas into action.
We’ve all seen this play out in our daily lives, especially in our online communities. The biggest threads are usually the most negative and contentious, where no positive action can be taken. While they can be “fun” to read, they are the digital equivalent of rubbernecking at an accident scene on the highway – ultimately it just makes you late to your destination.
The great news is that if you can open yourself to new ideas and positive energy, professional photographic communities like ASMP (and APA, WPPI, NPPA, etc.) are the perfect place to get inspired, and a great place to be inspiring to others.
Do you need help pricing? Bill Cramer can inspire you and give you the tools to be a better negotiator. Video? Gail Mooney has got your back. Starting out? Tony Gale will get you going as an assistant (yes that’s an inspiring APA program). Need to rework your portfolio? We’ve got a webinar for you. Stuck in a creative rut? Check out the NY Chapter’s Brain Trust groups, a place to run with ideas in a small, safe environment.
Of course I didn’t burn the guitar, but it’s still a struggle to keep the “headtrash” at bay. Just know the simple act of being open to new ideas will allow the inspiration to flow.
Bruce Katz is a NYC based architectural and portrait photographer. When he’s not working with new clients on set, he can be found teaching at ICP.
[by Jenna Close]
Inspiration comes in many forms: books, movies, a hike in the woods, a good conversation. Underneath all that variety is a fundamental similarity: the ability to take us out of our little boxes and show us something new.
With this in mind, I want to share a website that has inspired me over and over again. MediaStorm is, in their own words, ”an interactive design and video production studio that works with top visual storytellers”. And man, they aren’t kidding. Whether it’s Afghanistan as seen through 14 trips over 16 years, the unique beauty of the African continent by air or an in-depth exploration of a fading way of life on an Iowa family farm, there’s no denying the gorgeous photography and video. But this is only part of the package…the stories themselves are equally important (if not more so). They affect the way I see the world, the way I think about things, and that opens the doors for new ideas in my own life and work.
Jenna Close wants to be reincarnated as a photojournalist, although maybe not quite yet. Presently, she’s a contented commercial photographer in San Diego.
[by Selina Maitreya]
I am inspired by every day people in many ways.
I don’t need to go to a workshop to learn how to be inspired.
I simply keep my awareness in my front pocket.
Inspiration is all around me.
I am inspired by young people who are filled with ideas and the joy of creating and then act on the belief that they can accomplish exactly what they visualize.
I am inspired by visionaries like Gail Mooney, who want to affect change thru their art and conceive a project that is big, big, big and have the courage and skill and talent and commitment and heart to bring it to completion.
I am inspired by slam poets who perform in a style that is perfect for the words that they write.
I am inspired by my son Sam, who at 20 writes, and shoots (photos) and slams, and who sees everything in life (even a difficult, emotional diagnosis) as an opportunity to create.
I am inspired by people who walk in the integrity of what they say they believe. No excuses, 24/7.
I am inspired by people who seemingly have very little, but live in total gratitude for what they have.
I am inspired by people who when faced with a tough situation don’t complain or blame others. Rather they take the Abe Lincoln approach and say: ”Dont tell me what we can’t do, rather tell me what needs to be done and let us find a way.”
Selina Maitreya was the first photography consultant in the U.S. Through her 1 on 1 consulting services, online teleseminars, books and lectures she continues to guide, inspire and teach photographers world wide how to build businesses that meet their creative goals while building a business that will thrive.
By Selina Maitreya |
Posted: May 14th, 2013 |