Problems with motivation, inspiration and artistic self-esteem

Discussion in 'Photographic Discussions' started by epp_b, Mar 3, 2010.

  1. epp_b

    epp_b No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I've been having a few problems that seem to be putting up walls in my photography lately.

    First, I've been having trouble getting myself motivated and inspired. I see great lighting and cloud conditions outside and decide that I'm too tired to go out or that I can't possibly find anything within biking distance that I haven't already seen; or that I'm just not able to be creative and original enough with it. Maybe it's the winter blues, I don't know; but it didn't happen to me last winter.

    I guess it's partly that I feel I'm aimless. I don't really have a specific set of goals and, even if I decide to make some, I don't really know what I even want. Do I want to try and make money doing this? Am I even good enough to make money doing this? I don't know.

    All this segways to further conversation of upgrading my gear as well. I can easily afford to do so at the moment, but I can't make myself do it; I'm not exactly making any real amount of money doing this that I can figure, "well, I made this much, so can I spend this much".

    My biggest barrier is a financial justification. I can, in fact, afford it comfortably and I'd having no problem grasping the extra functionality, but I can't bring myself to spend a few thousand dollars on what is just a hobby from which I generate no real amount of income.

    The next reason is, of course, how can I think I deserve this if I'm even doing well, artistically?

    I'm not really sure what my question is other than... any suggestions as to how I can get back on track?
     
  2. pcacj

    pcacj TPF Noob!

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    Wow....don't know if someone else can make that diagnosis for you. Only you can motivate yourself. Sounds like several issues. Most people go through ups and downs with their hobbies, interests, relationships and occupations. I think you have identified a couple of factors that might be part of the issue. You may have the winter blues....very common up North. My wife and two of my children suffer from this to the point that they take medication. You state that you have no photography goals. You rely on a bike for transportation, which is absolutely a drag in the North. You lack confidence in your skills but are you doing anything to improve them? Do you read the books that teach photography? Do you try to recreate awesome photos? Have you enrolled in a class at the local tech school? Do you belong to the local photography club? Are you challenging yourself? Are you the type that prefers to sit and sigh about your doldrums rather than get up and do something?

    Start a 365 day project or put advertising on Craigslist offering free portraits on Wednesdays (or whatever day you want). If you are a minor, target your school friends as models. Hone those portrait skills until you are good enough to charge. Create your own calendar theme (the girls of True North). Advertise for models willing to trade modeling for exposure and portfolio images. Again, only you can motivate yourself.
     
  3. matfoster

    matfoster TPF Noob!

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    research something - a place an activity an aspect of society or environment. then go and lift the lid on it. maybe over a period of time. or maybe use some of your cash to travel there..and do that. doesn't have to be a commercial assignment. could be for a library expo or blog.


    probably some worthwhile charities and needy issues in your locality that could benefit from some exposure and attention. help them as a photographer.
     
  4. epp_b

    epp_b No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Well, I have no problem biking on cleared roads in winter... just bundle up :mrgreen:

    It's not the skill I'm having difficulty improving. The technical side of photography is very easy for me to understand; it's just math and some basic physics.

    Coming up with original ideas is what I'm finding more and more challenging.

    "Photography" books are generally about this rule and that rule. No thanks.

    Do you mean photos of mine that I think are awesome or do you mean others' awesome photos? If it's the latter, then, no. I prefer to try to be original. Afterall, being copycatting isn't really art, is it?

    I will try to take inspiration from them, but I really want to avoid copying them too much.

    Nah, I'm a loner ;) (I prefer to work alone, unless it's with someone whom I know really well and feel is talented)

    I think that's what I'm having trouble coming up with; how would I go about challenging myself?
     
  5. Josh66

    Josh66 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Try something you haven't tried, or try to improve on something you're not good at.





    I know what you're dealing with though... Except for the part about being able to afford better gear, lol. I think I'm more or less set there though - for now. (Still want a good wide angle lens though - I don't have anything wider than 50mm... :er:)

    The 'NSFW' thread I posted a few weeks ago was the last time I took a picture ... not counting Fight Club.

    I guess I can't really tell you how to get out of it, since I'm still in it, lol.
     
  6. icassell

    icassell TPF Noob!

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    I know you say you're a loner, but joining a group (formal or informal) is a good way to overcome all three issues -- motivation, inspiration, and self-esteem. You might reconsider it!
     
  7. matfoster

    matfoster TPF Noob!

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  8. epp_b

    epp_b No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Something about that sounds like a bad idea :lol:

    All joking aside; for medical reasons, travel is not really an option for me.
     
  9. AlbertoDeRoma

    AlbertoDeRoma TPF Noob!

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    While new gear is always a temptation, it's usually a short term fix (I'm sure you can tell how I know.)

    I often think I've exhausted the photo options for my local areas and regular walks and then I notice something I've never noticed before and get a shot I am very happy with. To wit, I've walked by the trees below dozens of time and never noticed them. Then, one day, I stopped for some reason and saw a very good and different (for me at least) shot waiting to be taken (see below.) This hasn't happened once. It tends to happen almost every time. I remember someone saying something along the lines that there are at least 3 things worth photographing within a few feet of where you are standing.

    Alberto

    P.S. Winter will also do that to your mood. I would not do anything drastic until spring.

    [​IMG]
     
  10. craig

    craig TPF Noob!

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    Checked out your website and I have to say you have an amazing eye and the tech is on point. After looking at your work I know exactly where your at because I have been there as well.

    Here is what I did. Put down the camera and get physical. Not sure where you are at physically, but it does not matter. Wear your self down daily through physical activity. This will clear your mind and build self confidence. After a couple of weeks of that I looked at art. Mostly paintings and other mediums beside photography. Then break down your photography by shooting with a Holga or a disposable camera.

    In a nutshell; get back to the elements that excited you about photography.

    Love & Bass
     
  11. KenC

    KenC Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    I have gone through much the same at times, with the exception of wondering about going commercial. The day job is pretty good and I'd rather just shoot and print what I like than try to convince anyone else it is worth money to them. What I usually do is just commit myself to going out with camera(s) and try to remember to stop frequently and assess everything I could shoot from that spot. This stops me from being in constant motion, both physical and mental. Once my mind starts running in the directions you described, or any others, I walk fast and forget to look, which of course guarantees that I won't shoot anything.
     
  12. fwellers

    fwellers TPF Noob!

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    I just noticed this new book coming out. Sounds kind of cool. I definitely need help with the creative side. Been trying to do a 365 project and I've hit the wall numerous times. Boring same thing over and over, I need to break through into a modicum of creativity.
    That is one good thing about this project. It will spur growth for me both technical and creative. ( It better :lol: )
    So I took a chance and ordered it.


    [​IMG]
     

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