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Remaining creative

People ask me frequently how do I come up with ideas for portraits.  Questions like “Do I ever get in a funk?”  Well the obvious answer is “yes, of course”!  How long does the funk last?  That remains to be seen!  Funks have no timeframe.  For many artists, it can be a week, a month or even several months.  I think all artists are the same.  Trying to remain creative every day of one’s life can be exhausting.  Sometimes you just have to let your brain go on a mini vacation.  For me, once the fog is clear, I come back stronger.  My work during these funk times are just as beautiful as all my other work, but my brain hits a brick wall when trying to create something different.  If you are in a job that requires you to do the same thing every day, day in and day out, you only know boredom.   But, if you are in a job that requires you to come up with something new, every time you have a client, it can be a bit daunting.

So, how do I crawl out of a funk?  Simply by going back to simpler roots.  Perhaps take in a museum exhibit that deals with painting.  Dive into a course that does not have to do with portraits.  Listen to some motivational speakers or podcasts.    Then slowly, I will switch over to listening or watching some You Tube videos of well known photographers.  Slowly, the air clears… like daffodils in the spring.

The one thing about photography is that if you don’t evolve, you die.  Staying above the education line is an ongoing process.  New techniques, new software, new editing, new lighting…. all of which has to be learned are always on the front burner.  I am sure that if you ask any photographer in business full time, he or she will also face the dreaded funk period.  It can happen once a year, twice a year or maybe every other year.   Staying around motivated associates, friends and family are the key.  Within any business, you have to distance yourself from the nay sayers.  Find people that will lift you up.

Bottom line… I love what I do.  There are definite hills and valleys.  Knowing how to drive through the super highway of these hills and valleys is the key.  Funks never last long with me thankfully.  I am thankful to be doing something that will give joy for people years and years.  I treat the funk times as re-fueling the creative spirit in my brain.  My energy level upon returning from a re-fueling time is over the top.  So, if it is a day trip to the city, shore or just binge watching something on You Tube, we all benefit… from photographer to client!

  • John Cordes - One of the most helpful insights shared with me by an artist and very spiritual person is the idea of rational thinking and creative thinking. Though the idea of specialized brain anatomy has been discarded — the idea that one hemisphere or one section of the brain is dominant over the other — it’s true of our thinking in general. For me, I need to be in a state of creative thinking in order to create. I find that the same mode of thinking is necessary for spiritual experience, though that’s a slightly different topic.

    My professional work requires me to do both. Most of the time, I have to be an administrator. Organizing, measuring, planning. But, my work also requires creative writing, and I have built in photography to back it up. It takes time to make the shift from rational thinking to creative thinking, and I’m easily interrupted! For me, being in a “funk” usually involves being stuck on the rational side of things. Volunteering as a photographer at two zoos often helps me to break that stalemate. Just making eye contact with an animal can be an experience that is nothing less than spiritual. It may seem odd, but a slow walk through a cemetery, reading the grave markers, can also add a perspective that breaks the funk.ReplyCancel

    • Donna Lere - John:
      Having an outlet that spurs the creative side outside of your daily work routine is one of the best ways to avoid the fog. For me, it is the opposite. Being creative is my main objective with the business of photography appearing just as important these days. Sadly, the business end sometimes takes over the creative side. In a perfect world, the idea of just waking up and spending all of my thoughts to being creative would be joyful. However, a good portion of my day involves participating in the business of photography. Turn back the clock 20 years and it was totally different. I don’t see it ever changing. Thanks for commenting!ReplyCancel

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