Want to know a quick tip to renewed creativity? Set boundaries. Make arbitrary rules. Limit your choices.
The rules can be completely random or they can expand on some aspect of photography you already enjoy or want to explore.
Recently on G+ I was invited to join a community called “Black and White Minimalism”. Think about that. Me? When was the last time I took a photo that was either minamalistic or black and white? But you know what, I’m inspired to limit myself for the near future to only take minimalistic photos of toys…in black and white. Now that will be a challenge for me!
Photography is a beautiful and malleable medium. You can do and be whatever you want through the lens of your camera. It’s also incredibly challenging. Street photography takes a different set of skills from say studio photography, food photography is not the same as fashion photography; …you get the idea. Each area of photography has its own set of challenges, its own unique skill set that needs to be understood and mastered. Personally this desire to keep learning new areas is what has kept my interested in photography for so long.
If you’re feeling like you’re in a creative dead-end, try adding some artificial limitations and see where this leads you. If you’re unsure of what that means, here are a few ideas to get the creative juices flowing: time of day, location, only one (or a few) figures, style, technique, storyline.
It doesn’t really matter what you choose, limit your choices. Why? Because by creating artificial barriers to your creativity your mind will start working on the problem you set out for yourself and try to find a solution. You will be forced to reach deep into your creative well to find a work around for the limitation you set up. You might be surprised what images you can create when you look at photography through a very narrow range of options. I’ve found through past experience that freedom from choice actually inspires my creativity in the most wonderful ways.
A few artists that have limited their photography choices and by doing so have created a unique body of work are:
- Alice in Cleveland – Alice series
These are only a few examples to get you thinking. There are many photographers who have narrowed their choices down and by so doing, have forced themselves to get creative. If you decide to limit yourself be aware that not all your photos will be gems, but I guarantee you, you will surprise yourself.
To paraphrase one of my favorite musical groups:
“Freedom of choice
Is what you got
Freedom from choice
Is what you want.” – Devo
Whatever you decide to do, don’t forget to have fun!
If you were to limit your choices, what would you choose?
Do you have a favorite toy photographer that has limited what they photograph and / or the technique they use?