Finding my Photography

I’ve been in a photographic/creative funk, slump, drought for several weeks or months now: no drive, no focus, little interest, great dissatisfaction, and no end in sight. I’ve complained about this some here on the blog, on Twitter, and out in the world, but only recently started trying to do something about it.

It’s early in the process and I shouldn’t say much about it, but I signed up for the Inspired Eye Method course and started working on The Art of Photography‘s Photo Assignments in tandem (hereafter IEPc and AoP).

The first assignment for both (actually, the first assignment for IEPc and recommended prework for AoP) involved starting up a journal/notebook/sketchbook thing. For IEPc, you use it to do some free writing around a few basic questions to help define your photographic intent and purpose:

  • why do I photograph?
  • what attracts me about photographs?
  • what do I want to do with it?
  • what does photography mean to me?
  • I am a photographer because…

I tackled the first 4 in short, 10-minute sessions one afternoon, but didn’t get too far. I looked over my responses the next day and realized that I’d lied several times. Instead of writing from my heart and head, I’d written things some imaginary reader, patron, fan would want or expect me to say.

I took my time with the last question, one 15-minute session per day, with time for review. And after 4 days, I got it…

On the AoP side, the sketchbook is meant as a previsualization tool, a means of setting a starting point and tracking progress over time. To that end, and in a bit of deviation from the instructions (see this video, 7:08-7:39 or so for the intent and 8:45 to 9:57 for the prework), I printed out 20 photographs and grouped them into general categories: family, stories, color, light. Then, while freewriting about my intent, I discovered a general list of things to look for and techniques to try, and then looked back at the photographs and made some general comments about them: what works, what doesn’t, why, etc. InshaAllah, I’ll share the photographs and my comments here soon, and refer back to and comment on them later, as I progress.

Overall, this first set of activities were great exercises. I’m still stuck, still not feeling it, but at least I know what I’m trying to do here

My photographic intent? I photograph to encourage thought.

Next up:

  • IEPc – make 5 images that are metaphoric in nature; look for some images that are independent of time and place; look in my archive: do I describe pictures by where they were shot (or the equipment used)?
  • AoP – Variations on a theme (and I have a plan to combine that with the next 3: Low/Medium/High angle)

In general, I plan to stick to the IEPc plan and jump around some on the AoP thing. Between the two, I hope to jumpstart my photography again, and get me in a more productive mood. Wish me luck, and follow along, maybe try some of these things yourself. God willing, self-examination and focused, guided study will help us move forward.

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