Clearing the blockage

By: Darrell Klein

Mar 22 2007

Category: Art, Creativity, Image, photography


Photo:  NCA St. Lucia – Pigeon Island – Castries, St. Lucia

Like many artists, I often suffer from creative block.  Every time I do, I feel that fear coming on that makes me wonder if I will ever be able to pull out of it.  Will I be able to clear the blockage?

I suppose I should consider myself lucky that I have always been able to pull myself out of any creative ruts I have fallen into.  Sometimes I feel like a little time away from the camera might do me some good from time to time.  However, like many photographers, I don’t get to shoot as much as I want to now so less time behind the camera doesn’t seem like a good solution.

There are some thing that I have done over the years that do seem to help me get past creative block.  First, I often find myself falling into creative block when I try to get too specific with what I am shooting.  By that, I mean that I fall into the trap of preconceived ideas of the images I am looking for while I am out shooting.  There are times that I can pull this off but more often than not, this leads to disappointment and eventually creative block.  I find that if I experiment with my choice of subject matter and be more random, this often leads me to a new kind of subject that I can build on for future outings.

For me, project based shooting has not worked.  I think this is mainly due to the fact that I am an amateur and I can shoot for myself so that is exactly what I do.  However, I do find that I can add to a “collection” of like photographs in my portfolio when I spot subjects that are similar to what I have shot before.  This can pull me out of a funk even though it doesn’t lead me anywhere new.  Sometimes I just need to get back to something that has worked for me in the past so I can get my confidence back to where it needs to be.  Once I am “back”, I can try to grow from there.

What are some of the things you do to get past creative block?  Leave a comment and let me know.


4 comments on “Clearing the blockage”

  1. Hi Darrell,

    Here’s a recent exercise I’ve been using if I start to fall into a rut with subject matter or composition:

    Go for a walk in a neighborhood or part of town you’ve never been to, or haven’t visited for awhile. Any time something catches your eye and you start to think “I’d like to take a picture of that,” then immediately take a picture. Don’t stop to think about how to frame the shot. If you’re shooting digital, don’t chimp right after the shot.

    Next step: Either keep walking, or if the subject matter really intrigues you, make a few more images from another perspective. Just shoot now, analyze later. When in doubt, release the shutter. It’s not quantity over quality, just a way help minimize any inner critical voices during the shooting process.



  2. ^My thoughts exactly! When I fall into a rut (and it happens often) I just start playing with my camera. By the time I relize it, I’ve taken some pretty decent shots

  3. Thanks guys for contributing to the discussion. I would say I cannnot wait to give this a try but hopefully it will be a while before I am hit with the “block” again. Next time I am hit with it, I will give this a try.

  4. Perfect timing to run across this post. For the past few days I’ve felt like I’ve gone blind. Today – on a bus, ride it till I see an interesting neighbourhood, get off and bring out the camera. Usually works. We’ll see.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: