Inside Out

posted on 27th of june, 2007

Everyone runs out of creative steam at one time or another. I'm in one of those phases myself right now. After the PACA meeting in DC, a cross country move, a quick trip to Italy and back, the prospect of being in San Francisco next week and Alaska the second week in July, has left me without a creative thought in my head. Thus I decided to follow my own advice and look at things from a new point of view. I hope that this exercise will help any of you stuck in a creative fog too. But first I have to get at least a simple idea to start with.

I keep coming back to something that I saw in PDN at least twelve or more years ago. It was a full page of photographs of the inside of the camera cases carried by a dozen or more top photographers. It was fascinating to see what one could tell about the style of visual problem solving of certain people just from what they carried on the road. After that I started asking to see inside people's briefcases and camera bags. My favorite "reveal" was the contents of a very successful businessman's case: empty except for an apple.

Shortly after that I visited my friend Robert Sobieszek, the curator of photography at the LA County Museum of Art (until his very sad and untimely death in July, 2005). He showed me through a show he had just organized taken by a photographer whose name I regretably no longer remember, who had made large photographs of the bookcases of people he contacted. These fascinating images told a great deal about the people who owned the books...just by the titles of the book on their shelves.

Which brings me back to the point of this blog. Sometimes try to give yourself an assignment that really has no obvious commercial use. Pick a phrase or select an emotion and then go about creating images that illustrate that phrase. Try this one: photograph the inside of things as a way out of a creative slump. While you are focusing on illustrating a concept, you will often find that your mind will wander and soon you will be distracted and find inspiration in a totally different place. Now let's see...do I feel creatively refreshed having written about the inside of things? Did a new idea come to me while I was writing? Hummm. You (and I) will find out when the next installment appears. But I think it might have something to do with circular shapes.

Comments (1)

Posted by Dersankt on June 29, 2007
How about muses? Could we photographers look for a muse and see where we could go with these?

I've been doing a lot of self-portraits lately-- was wondering what would the stock use be for these pictures?

Der Sankt

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About me

I have written a about microstock photography released in 2010. I was the Director of Content at Dreamstime for two years ending in Feb, 2009. You can order my book from amazon via my website at www.ellenboughn.com/blog.

Bainbridge Island, US

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