We slowly, sometimes unknowingly, slip into a creativity slump with our art, and before we even realize what has happened, we’re questioning every brilliant idea we’ve ever had, every original thought we’ve ever managed to bring to life.
The message from the photography community is often a suggestion to pore over the work of others, to find something that speaks to us, something that helps to ignite the spark of creativity we feel we’ve suddenly lost. This advice is sound; studying the work of others in any creativity-based field has long been a practice used by and encouraged by artists all over the world.
But what about studying your own work for inspiration? What about clicking through your own archives in search of something that perhaps originally didn’t speak to you, but now, looking at those otherwise discarded images with fresh eyes helps you to find that some of your earlier work was, in fact, filled with creativity and a passion for photography that maybe you feel you’ve lost a little along the way?
When I am feeling particularly uninspired, I find myself going back a year, two, even seven or eight years into my archives and realizing that some of the work from that time in my life was fueled by an extreme need to create and capture images that were original and meaningful. But, because I was overly-preoccupied then with getting a great composition and perfect lighting in camera, there are hundreds of images that I didn’t give much of a chance to because they didn’t fit exactly into the idea I had in my head at the moment that I clicked the shutter.
Years later, in search of inspiration, I look back through my own work and find plenty of great images that I’d previously ignored because of their minor technicalities. As well, since my post-processing abilities are stronger today, I’m able to ‘save’ images of my kids’ younger years and re-edit others that I may have been a little heavy-handed in Photoshop with on the first go-round…
I recently had a long look at my year 2007 in pictures. I found so many photos that are near and dear to my heart that I’d previously overlooked. I took the time to edit many of them, printed several, and even framed and hung a few. If you’re finding yourself in a slump, try clicking through your archives. You may be surprised at just how inspiring your own work can be if you’re feeling uninspired!