I mentioned this trip in a recent post, but a few weeks ago I was able to spend time photographing in and around Jackson Hole WY, where I got some great images (some are already up in my Portfolios). The hardest thing I’ve found about being in the field is adjusting my mindset from “day gig” to “photographer” quickly. Like lots of avid photographers, the gig that puts food on my table is not photography-related, though I’m lucky enough to have a career in the arts. I was fortunate enough to stay with close friends and had access to one of their vehicles, so I was able to get out and shoot on my own, take some hikes and generally shake off my “day gig mentality.”
For many of us, setting aside the day-to-day aspects of our lives and opening up our senses to the photographic opportunities in front of us can often be a daunting task. Crunching numbers, buying groceries, sending emails and even doing the laundry often push artistic thoughts to the side. Which means that once you are in the field and trying to find and create images, the creativity block you experience is tough to work through.
So how do we, as photographers and artists, find a way to break through this creativity-stifling wall? Well, for me the best way is to take small steps daily. In my backpack I carry a small PHD camera (ye olde “Push Here Dummy” point and shoot), and there’s also the ubiquitous iPhone in my pocket as well. With these creative tools, I’m able to see, capture and hold on to anything that strikes my fancy as I walk the streets of NYC. I recall the words of Elliott Erwitt:
“ Nothing happens when you sit at home. I always make it a point to carry a camera with me at all times…I just shoot at what interests me at that moment.
Knowing that I have at least one camera with me at all times allows me to look at my daily surroundings with a photographer’s eye, and keeps me fresh. For example, instead of stepping over the puddle of water on the ground, take a look at the reflection in it and see what can be made of it. Buildings are no longer just stone and concrete, but they become graphic images of patterns. Continually viewing the world as a photographer keeps your eye fresh and those creative juices close to the surface.