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Photographers Block ..or lack of inspiration


Welcome to my corner of ePhotozine.

I love all aspects of photography. But my true passion is Black & White the tones, textures is what holds my attention. Of late my work is moving more into the surreal creative genre, but I still love the early morning sunrise, there's something magical about the dawn of a day.
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Photographers Block ..or lack of inspiration

2 Dec 2012 6:06PM   Views : 4578 Unique : 1008

For my first blog post in some time I return to an old subject, that of inspiration, or more accurately lack of.

I should add, of late I've found it hard to conjure up new ideas, as some may have noticed, my portfolio has moved from predominately landscapes (and seascapes), to more images of a more abstract surreal feel. Landscapes will remain important to me, I enjoy the time alone particularly at sunrise, its a magical time, but in future it will be quality over quantity.

The problem with the direction change is its hard to think of ideas that are new, harder still to get that idea into a believable image (an average images takes >10 hours in Photoshop).

The “Death of a Salesman” series was influenced largely by the Arthur Miller play, and the work of Gregory Crewdson . (I still have images I've yet to get right littering my hard drive).

The following are my images to date:

Sorry seems to be the hardest word

Sins of the fathers

Hang in there

The Dorothy & Timothy series, was derived after been inspired by a number of artists on Flickr (I wish some of these would join EPZ); Yves Lecoq, Michel Lagarde, Sarolta Ban to name three. I had an image in mind, a train emerging from mist / fog for about a year, but it was lacking a twist … until I was helping my daughter clear out her bedroom, and going through the toy box.

The series is almost complete, just one image to go (WIP) then I can finally move on.

To my mind the initial D&T image The Gamble is still the best of the series. Why? I think because it doesn't have a direct human influence, it allows the mind to do that.

Now my next conundrum, is what next? I'm torn I've always admired surreal artists, Dali & Magritte, together with a little known UK artist, Neil Simone there are a couple of other surreal artists I've stumbled over including Dorothea Tanning. I would like to take some of their influences into my work, but I don't want to go to far down the avenue of Digital art. I also don't know whether to continue to produce work as part of a series, or whether to just do “one off's”.

So to the point of the blog, I'm desperately seeking that next bit of inspiration. I'm reading classic novels, I'm currently reading the original Bram Stoker “Dracula” but I think that's been done to death – unless I can think of a completely different twist, no damsels in distress holding a lamp in a graveyard, no teeth etc etc.

I'm listening to various albums as I travel the length and breadth of the UK, I've been watching films – but alas nothing seems to be working. Why? I wish I could put my finger on it, is it because work has taken over a larger part of my life, is it because my mind is “in a better place”, or am I just striving too hard for that Idea to come to me? am I trying too hard?

Do I continue to predominantly use Black and White, or do I use colour?

I would like to hear how others have overcome that block. How do those of a creative mind overcome a block, I would love to hear how you have achieved it.


Bonvilston 7 61 8 United Kingdom
3 Dec 2012 7:28PM
Hey Nick, It is good to hear that I am not the only one who suffers from lack of inspiration. It got so bad over the course of this year that it made me become a member of ePhotozine, just to see what stimulated others. I have found that there are plenty in the same position. I have been really impressed by some of the things I have come across on here and many have set me off thinking. Once I get to thinking its hard stopping me Wink. I have now built up a series of new projects to work on, including building up sets of images for a song or a piece of music, making music videos, including composing the music using computer technology, and creating a website for Photo Walks and photobooks for Roadtrips. These involve research as well as taking photos, but I find the research stimulates ideas for new approaches to photos. Take a look at my recent blog entries on here to get a feel for when I am going.

I would not be arrogant enough to suggest ideas for someone with your experience and quality of photography, but I did feel I wanted to make you feel more positive about the way inspiration has a way of popping up when you least expect it - in my case when considering something new.

Best of look with your search for inspiration.


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Nick_w Plus
11 4.3k 99 England
3 Dec 2012 7:36PM
Thanks Peter, and thanks for the compliment on my work - however I am more then willing to listen to anyones ideas, some of my images that im happy with have been the result of conversations with other photographers - for example one way I process my mono portraits came from a conversation that lasted all of 10 seconds.

Some interesting ideas. - interesting just yesterday I was thinking about taking a song then creating an image to reflect it.

I don't worry about lack of inspiration anymore, as i'm sure it will come when I least expect it - but i'd just like to give it a helping hand. I will take a good look at your blog entries.
SlowSong Plus
9 7.4k 30 England
4 Dec 2012 10:11AM
I really admire your work Nick and love your various series. I can't give you any inspiration I'm afraid, lacking any imagination myself, but I think you should stay with b/w, or with just a hint of colour. I particularly like the way you stay true to life, with just enough photoshoppery to enhance and tell the story. Never overdone.

I wonder if you've considered printing up your various series and mounting them for an exhibition. Perhaps you've already done that or are not interested, but I can imagine them making a superb show somewhere.
Nick_w Plus
11 4.3k 99 England
7 Dec 2012 10:27AM
Thanks Chris - I do think Black and White (or toned) will form the bulk of my DM's. Interesting since I wrote this, a germ of an idea is forming (maybe because I wrote it) - tho it will be a one off image (if it comes off - I need to check if the images I have will allow it).

When time allows I would love to get them printed up and have them displayed ,anyone know of any galleries worth approaching in S or W Yorkshire - ? I have also thought of a limited edition book - but not sure if anyone would buy it
Nick_w Plus
11 4.3k 99 England
8 Dec 2012 3:08PM

Quote:I particularly like the way you stay true to life, with just enough photoshoppery to enhance and tell the story. Never overdone

That's very interesting Chris, I try to make the images reasonably convincing, so it's a great compliment. I do think that my landscapes have helped, they taught me light (or quality of) is vital, so when I do a DM, I pay attention to the light direction and shadows, not just using drop shadow. Sometimes the shadow looks unnoticeable in the final image, it's only when you take it away ( I toggle the layers constantly) that you ( or I notice) what it brings to the image, when compositing I spend ages getting the cut out right. I then save them seperatly so I can recycle them in other images.

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