I’ve been wrestling with photography since July 11.
I had gone through a period of several months where I was shooting photos like a madman, and able to put something out on this blog nearly every day. I was feeling creative, motivated, and even inspired.
Then July 11 happened, and I wasn’t able to get much of anything I was pleased with.
July 11 was the day that 130 MPH winds tore through town – category 2 hurricane force in Iowa – and ripped everything I’ve known for 30 years to shreds. At least, those things I most enjoy photographing. It was estimated that we lost 75% of the trees in town. I lost 2 huge ones in my own back yard over 100 years old.
There were many opportunities to photograph the destruction. Wherever you turned in town, there was plenty of drama. Downed trees, smashed cars, demolished homes. But I had no desire to photograph any of that. I focus on life, on beauty, and the prospect of recording so much damage held no appeal at all.
I tried once or twice to go out and take pictures of the positive things, to find new life or images of rebuilding. But I just couldn’t see it. My inspiration seemed to have been swept away by the winds like so much of the rest of what I’ve known.
Oh, I’ve done a few things I’m proud of since then. Mostly paid work of portraits. That work reassured me that my creativity was not gone, just struggling to surface. Given sufficient motivation, I was still able to be quite creative.
So tonight I went out again, determined to at least snap the shutter a lot, if nothing else. I’d recently read a post at DPS on some tips to get out of a photography funk, but the ideas didn’t really work for me. I’d tried most of them before as personal challenges, but it wasn’t what I needed now.
What I found that I needed was to return to some fundamentals. Perhaps I had been caught up in trying to outdo myself. I dunno. But I ended up at a place with a lot of “stuff” lying around. Stuff that provided interesting textures and lines. Suddenly I was snapping like made, rolling around in the dirt to get a great angle, and generally having a ball. There was nothing ground-breaking in what I was doing. Indeed, much of what I was getting borders of being trite (though I did manage to avoid the “railroad tracks converging in the distance” syndrome).
So, in the coming days expect a lot of lines and texture in my posts. Hopefully this is just what I need to get back into a good routine. Hope you enjoy.