Inspiration..

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Zan

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Ive been shooting 4x5 and contact printing with a 7.5 watt light bulb ever since I started 4 years ago (with an ancient crown graphic). Recently I decided to really focus on contact printing, and decided to get an 8x10. Im about 10days away from having a complete 8x10 setup going, and it has taken alot of time and effort to get everything together. I havent shot much in awhile, and Im growing seriously disillusioned to the area I live in (Athens, GA). I love outdoor photography and Im really excited about 8x10 and AZO, but Im afraid that Ive lost all inspiration with where Im at geographically. I dont get to travel much at all as Im a student here at the University.. Does anyone here have experiences with this? Possible workarounds? Gripes about my confusing posts?

I really think this part of the US is just ugly and uninteresting..
 

roteague

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We all do at times. I live in Hawaii (Oahu) and after awhile I find myself going to the same spots over and over. I found that by making a list of places on the island to shoot, I was going to new spots and re-inspired. I haven't been in you area in years, but I know there are nice places there. Make a list, and shoot something new.
 
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Zan

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Ive been playing music since I was ten years old. Trumpet for 12 years, guitar for 7, and banjo for 3... No problem on the music front :wink:
 

Peter Schrager

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Backyard Photo

Zan-I can under stand your frustration. Sometimes it is just easier to put the camera away for awhile and concentrate on making prints or some other activity. I've sort of been forced to remain in the NY metro area;mainly CT.. I live by the shoreline and I too grow weary of the subject matter. But by waiting for either the right light or day the same scene we have driven past 100 times can become a new reality. Go get yourself some polaroid and get some immediate feedback for yourself. Go look at other photographers work in books if neccessary. There is always inspiration to be had. In Michael Smiths book; A Visual Journey; he photographed maps. I don't believe he did it out of boredom but it was what he wanted to express at that moment. Lastly,this is supposed to be fun so try that approach first.
Regards Peter
 

rbarker

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Zan said:
Ive been playing music since I was ten years old. Trumpet for 12 years, guitar for 7, and banjo for 3... No problem on the music front :wink:

But, I'd bet you haven't been playing the same tune over and over again all that time. :wink:

That's often essentially the rut we get in as photographers. So, one approach might be to research your own area as if you were a tourist coming in from the outside for vacation. Check local tourism websites for "attractions" and "events" - that sort of thing. Also, if you generally shoot one style of images, flowers, let's say, try something quite different, such as architecture. Get out of whatever rut you might be in and explore the one next door.
 

rootberry

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Thank you for your replys! I have been looking at any photographers books I can get my hands on. The Westons, Minor White, Mortensen, Adams of course, and a stack of others that are still overdue at the Univ. Library. I have had it in my head for some time that I would very much like to do a "series" of photographs that relate to each other. Ever since I saw this photo: (there was a url link here which no longer exists) The idea has been kind of burning away in my skull. I have yet to come up with any good subjects tho..
 

rbarker

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rootberry said:
. . . I have had it in my head for some time that I would very much like to do a "series" of photographs that relate to each other. Ever since I saw this photo: (there was a url link here which no longer exists) The idea has been kind of burning away in my skull. I have yet to come up with any good subjects tho..

How about taking something that typifies Athens, something you're otherwise bored with, and shooting it in several different "extreme" ways? Extreme might be high-key vs. low-key, sunrise/noon/sunset, isolated vs. in-context, etc.
 

rogueish

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I was in a slight rut last summer, so to break it I went out and photographed the ugliest/most boring scenery I could find. Trash strewn alleys, empty parking lots, boring brick walls, unremarkable streets, wilting plants with no flowers. Wasn't long when before I realized I was having a hard time doing this because "good" scenes started poping up all over the place. I think it took about 2 rolls before I was back doing what I liked.
What Ralph suggested also works good. If you do landscapes, switch to taking close up, take an small part of the scenery and do just that. Zero in instead of broad horizons. The door knob instead of the whole house.

Happy hunting!
 

Canuck

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Likes like many good suggestions here When I get into a rut, I change format or change from tight to open shots and vice versa or go for people and environment type stuff. Many times, I will just set up and just sit and look at what there is to see just to recharge how I see things. Drives my family crazy when I take 30 minutes to set up and then, without taking a shot, pack up and move elsewhere. They are the types that jump out of the car, go click click click and then settles back in the car waiting for me :D
 

FrankB

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Hi Zan,

You may find some help on this thread (there was a url link here which no longer exists) In particular I found Les's suggestion of taking a camera for a walk very helpful.

Apart from that, why not try the APUG Photo Challenge (shameless plug!). There are a few threads for that one, but if you read the first post (there was a url link here which no longer exists) and then (there was a url link here which no longer exists) post, it'll probably make sense! (PM me if not!)

All the best with your search for inspiration,

Frank
 

modafoto

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I am on very low budget, too. Therefore I have gotten into some still-life shooting. That you can do @ home taking photos of whatever inspires you. Look around for interesting shapes as cutlery, kitchen utensils, a vase, some flowers, food et.al. I have shot a lot of this stuff and it is fun!
 

Bill Mitchell

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Zan, you're not alone. Having grown up in a similar geographic area (Athens, TN), I always had the same problem. "Ah ha," I thought, after making successful pictures all over the world, "I'll go visit my kinfolks and see why I could have been photographing when I was a kid."
The result: almost total failure. Scenically beautiful, it was photographically boring. You can only make so many pictures of old barns and scrub pinewoods, and besides most of the countryside has now been fenced off.
Forget the scenic photographs, and photograph the people and things which are important to you now.
Incidentally, for my first few years in photography I had only an old 9x12 cm sheetfilm camera, and like you only contact printed under a 7.5 watt bulb. I recently came across some of these 50+ year old prints, and find them nostalgically interesting, but photographically boring.
 

MurrayMinchin

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Art doesn't have to be "pretty"...show us how ugly it is!...where is it the ugliest?...what's it like when one ugly area meets another?...are there isolated nice bits surrounded by ugly?...is it still ugly at dawn...dusk...night?...are really small bits of ugly when seen close up still ugly?...are ugly, decaying buildings/trees ugly?...what is your definition, expressed as a photograph, of "ugly"?

Murray
 

MurrayMinchin

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Hi Zan, I just re-read your post...it seems to me you have nothing to worry about; you are just in the mandatory "navel gazing" period one needs to grovel in before leaping over the edge! You are about to launch into totally unknown ground - this would cause anybody with a shred of artistic sensabilities to question many aspects of their work, including subject matter.

If you have the motivation to aquire 8x10 gear on a students budget, there is obviously a deeply rooted N E E D that you are unable to define at the moment. Don't sweat it...take the new gear out...photograph nothing in particular...get comfortable...get familiar with handling those huge negatives in the developer...then you'll probably start to see the images you know are inside, yet are still hidden from your view.

Artistic vision, clearly seen and manifested honestly through photography onto paper will always transcend the mundane, the familiar, the sterile, the ugly...into ART!

Through the blood, sweat, tears, unanswered questions, and joy of your new endevour...HAVE FUN!!!!!!!!!!

Murray
 
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Zan

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wow murray, what a response. Thanks, I feel better already!
 

MurrayMinchin

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Hey, no problem Zan!

I've found myself in such situations in the past...usually just before busting out of a period of inactivity in a flury of image making. I've stopped calling them dry spells and now consider myself "Episodic".

I once saw an interview with the creator of the comic series, Spawn. He said there are those that tippy-toe to the edge in life, peer carefully over, and try to figure out a safe place to land. Then there are those that run hell-bent over the edge and figure it out on the way down. It sounds like you're in the second group! Dare to dream........

Murray
 

bjorke

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As time goes by, few people ever regret having made bold choices. They get all bitter and wistful about the ones they didn't make.

As an alternative, find a new girlfriend :smile: (has always worked for me!)
 
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