I talk all the time on this site and on my personal site about creativity.
“If I take one more picture of a leaf, I’m going to explode” ~R. E. in 2015, about a creative rut he experienced.
Lately I’ve been social media friending a lot of photographers at bigger newspapers on the coasts. Their work is amazing and inspirational, but seems to flow from a different source: regattas, refugees, politics, enormous sports events, current affairs; they live in states that have counties bigger than Oklahoma, so it’s a different worldview just based on what we see every day. I look at their lives with some incredulity: how can you deal with millions of people, their noise, their traffic, their smell. I live in a town that has fewer people in it than the staff at the New York Times.
I caught a recent YouTube video from a channel called DigitalRev (“Rev” being “revolution” I guess) about photographic cliche’s to avoid. In it, he mentions just about every kind of photo. I’ve touched on this idea before, and it is this: in a world of literally billions of images being made every day, stop trying to reinvent the wheel and start trying to express yourself. It’s a subtle concept, but one worth merit.
Looking at the work of other photographers will make you chase your tail. It’s all been done to death. Don’t believe me? Do a web search for “Hong Kong at Night.” I’ll wait.
See? What can you add to that? Next, do a web search for “YOUR NAME in pictures.” Now, what can you add to that?
Finally, I know I’ve said this time and again, but it bears a lot of weight: you can’t buy mastery, you have to earn it. Trust me on this: when I take my pistol down to the pond and my first ten shots miss, there’s nothing wrong with my pistol.