Was I Coming or Going, Motivation & New Eyes

The real voyage of discovery
consists not in seeking new landscapes
but in having new eyes.
~Marcel Proust

New Eyes

Many of us get stuck in ruts sometimes. Usually this means our motivation drops to zero and sometimes we get pessimistic about our output. Sooner or later a common idea floats into our head (or out of our lips), something like: Everything here is boring, if I could just travel, well then I would be inspired to take better photos (or write better, draw better, etc).

Sure, you probably would be inspired a bit more than usual if you traveled, but it’s not practical to travel every single time motivation drops, nor is it necessary. A better solution, or a more economical one at any rate, is to tweak your way of seeing.

On his photowalks and in his classes, my friend Alfie teaches the idea of sticking to just one prime lens, or one focal length if you only have a zoom. If you (like me) usually shoot very wide, grab that 80mm lens on your next photowalk and leave all the others at home so you have no option. You will see the world in a new way, with new eyes, and this may lead you to see and photo things you have passed and looked at a thousand times but never actually seen. If nothing else, limit yourself to one lens for a day or two, then when you go back to your favorite lens it will feel fresher. After a day of shooting with one of my tele lenses, I feel the world has opened up when I switch back to my wide-angle lens.

Another idea is to try more experimental photography. Smartphones are really ideal for this, but any camera works (something you normally don’t use is better). Try some double exposures, do some light painting, really push your inner artist. The end result may be crap, but I bet you will have fun doing it, and it may just give you a fresh way of looking at things—new eyes—which you can then take to your regular photo work.

Daily Photo: Was I Coming or Going

This one is from one of my own experimentations. People going up an escalator… boring. Add an interesting viewpoint and double exposure and you get something a bit more interesting. Or at least more fun to take.


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