I get a kick out of walking the streets of NYC taking photos… spending hours hunting for interesting scenes and compositions. I haven’t gotten out much this year however. And like many things, one can get rusty quickly without consistent practice.
So when I arrived in NYC the other day and started walking around, I found it hard to get started. Nothing was catching my eye. It’s like my photographic vision was completely offline. When I’m that far out of practice, I know images are going to be terrible. I started feeling resistant to the idea of even taking pictures. I didn’t even want to take my camera out. The more I walked, the less inspired I felt.
But I’ve been through that before.
The solution was to simply take the camera out of my bag and start shooting anything at all. To essentially embrace the fact that the images were probably going to suck and go ahead and shoot them anyway.
Just the act of getting started helped me find enough of a groove to keep going and enjoy myself for several hours. And although the images did indeed suck, all the shooting helped me jumpstart my vision.
I went back a few weeks later. Although I still struggled with vision and inspiration, I immediately took the camera out and started shooting anyway. My vision soon started clicking again and I made a few decent images, including one that I liked (featured above).
So what is the point of this?
In my post on Jack White and the creative process, I noted that one is not always going to feel inspired to do the work. You have to get started anyway. Inspiration is traditionally considered the thing that gets you fired up to do the work in the first place. And it most certainly is that. But just as often, inspiration comes as a byproduct of doing the work itself.