Lately I have been wondering whether I am not lacking inspiration in my work. I felt less like writing because I couldn’t find ideas to develop. Even with photography, I felt a certain weariness and nothing around me encouraged me to move forward as I have always done until now. Some of the bloggers I followed seemed to be suffering from a lack of inspiration just like me. Tim Huynh was absent for more than 6 months, John Harper who I love to read, started to be less present too.
Since I’m not on social networks anymore, these photographers are the only openings I have to the world of street photography. I don’t make the effort to go and see what’s out there because I don’t know where to go. Sometimes I hear the name of an interesting photographer and I go and see his work. The only one who impresses me with his diligence and dedication to Street Photography is Alex Coghe ! Yes, I talk about him a lot, but frankly he’s got a lot going for him. I don’t think there is anyone else on the web who is as prolific as he is. And yet his articles are often of high quality and give us food for thought about the practice.
I tried for a while to do something like him with my sensibility, my approach, my vision, but little by little, a weariness set in. I am proud of some of the articles I wrote. Even when I reread them today, I tell myself that frankly, what I wrote was damn good ! Some will say that I lack modesty… For several months, or even several years now, my Blog has taken a more personal turn and I rarely deal with purely Street Photography themes. Simply because I have done the trick. I have nothing more to say about it.
As I have often said, I have drawn a lot of inspiration from social networks. The behaviours of the people who use these platforms are a mine for blog posts. There was also the discovery of Street Photography and all the themes associated with it. I even tried to contribute to a definition of Street Photogtraphy ! Today I have nothing more to say about it. I don’t want to sound pretentious, but I’m above all that. I have strong ideas about some things like not making people pose and that light/shadows is lazy work…
I don’t pretend to be a voice that has any value in the microcosm of Street Photography. I play by my own rules. No dogma. Too restrictive and boring. In the past month I have hardly done any Street Photography. I went to South Africa for two weeks and brought back countless animal pictures ! I thought very little about Street. It was a family holiday and the Ricoh GR3 was hardly used. This is the only street photo I took in South Africa. It was on the first day as I was picking up our rental car.
Since then I’ve come back home and I’ve been to Saint-Denis twice. The children are still on holiday for 10 days and there is no hurry. For a long time I thought I had to insist when inspiration ran out. For a long time I thought I had to keep going out to take photos until it came back. It was the same with writing. Keep writing, even crap, to keep the momentum going. But now I’m not sure that’s the right thing to do. Everyone goes through phases where it’s harder to do certain things. In this case for me it’s taking pictures and writing. I think it’s normal to feel more like it. You shouldn’t force things. Just put them aside and come back to them later.
It’s a bit like reading. For many years I read a lot and then when the children came into my life. I stopped. I didn’t feel like it anymore and yet I love it. For a few months now, I have started reading again and I am devouring books again. What is certain is that I continue to take photos. Probably less than at certain times. As for writing, it’s more complicated. As I said, I don’t have much more to say and I’m not going to insist on churning out air. I’ll write when I have things to say. It won’t be anything important but just ideas to share.
I think you have to accept the lack of inspiration, the fact that you don’t want to spend hours in the street, that you don’t see anything interesting to photograph. Basically, accept the lows as well as the highs. It’s part of the game. Things will come back on their own and if they don’t, then you’ve really done the trick. This is not the first time, nor the last time I’m sure, that I’ve experienced this lack of inspiration. Very often it coincides with the long school holidays when the balance is upset by the children.
Today’s truth will certainly not be tomorrow’s. I may start writing frantically again in the next few weeks ! For the time being, I think I’ll be posting more sparingly. The problem is that since I left YouTube, I don’t have the opportunity to share some of the pictures. I’ll just try to post them in an article. They are not Glory shots anyway…
All the pictures were made with the Ricoh GR3.
I think we’ve all been there Jeff… I’ve just returned from a short mountain holiday, walking in the Dolomites, and took only landscape photographs when I was there. I never do street photography when I’m in company (I think to protect the people I’m with from possible confrontations) so it was strictly nature for a few days. Coming back to shoot on the streets of Rome I’ve suddenly been questioning whether I’m simply repeating myself and it’s felt more of an effort to get back out there. A change is coming…I don’t know what it is yet, but I’ll know it when I see it!
I think that we do repeat ourselves… Its like the groundhog day but we do things slightly differently because the situations that occur in front of us change. Frankly, I walk the exact same streets for 3 years now. Saint Denis is not that big but somehow I ‘m still surprised by some sceneries. It’s basically routine with an ersatz of unknown… That’s what make dedication important.
Like your holidays in the Dolomites, going abroad for a family time was important because I put aside street photography (even if I couldn’t help scanning the world around me and saw some great potential shots…). Its important to take a break from time to time. Just to rejuvenate…
You’ve written some great blog posts Jeff. You’ve certainly inspired me with your words and often set an example that I’ve followed. Your photography in the post and all your posts are of the highest class.
I’m treading the same path at the moment. I’ll email you to explain privately.
There’s a time for everything. Don’t rush things. I know that photography means a lot to you.