Inspiration vs Perspiration

As a creative type (dare I say, “artist”?), I’m well aware of the bumpy ride that is creativity. When it comes to productivity and ‘output’, it’s feast or famine. Some days (weeks, years) you think of eight amazing ideas before breakfast, execute six of them before lunch, and have them finished and displayed before dinner. Other days…well, those days turn into weeks, months, years, with nothing to show except a lot of frustration.

I truly believe that without that ebb and flow (which sounds much nicer than “feast or famine”, doesn’t it?), you can’t be creative. It’s part of the process. But that doesn’t mean you can’t try and kickstart the process when in one of those lulls.

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As someone who makes a living at photography, I have the added complexity of doing what I love for work as well as fun. [“Aw, poor Matt, he’s doing what he loves…”] That’s not what I mean! I mean that when I’m spending all my time either working with clients or building my business, it can sometimes be hard to just shoot pictures for the pure joy of it. I sometimes contemplate going out to “Shoot for Joy”, and weigh it in dollars and cents, or time lost, rather than happiness gained. I LOVE being a professional photographer! But every once in awhile, I start asking myself “what have I shot for myself lately?”

Along comes a blog entry from prophotolife.com, to remind me that it’s time. It’s a great entry, and I’m inspired again. I’m going to commit to a week of “a photo a day”. Yes it’s only a week, but hey I’m a busy guy! If the week works out, then I might extend it. I know some people who do this for a year or more, which sounds great (but do they have jobs?)

I’ve got an old camera loaded up with film, and I’m ready to go. Yes, film. When I’m shooting for fun, it’s almost always a film camera, and almost always an old one. I’ll discuss film vs digital at a later date.

Here’s a group of writers trying the same thing, but with writing instead of photography. Here’s another writer, also with some other good tips on breaking creative block (aka writer’s block).

Genius, they say, is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration. To keep your skills sharp—just like an athletic activity—you have to keep the muscles moving and toned. Even if you make bad photographs, write nonsense or paint stuff you ultimately throw away, it’s the exercise that keeps you sharp.

So today I’m starting. I’ve put a reminder in my calendar program for the next seven days. I’m heading down into the ‘Big City’ (downtown Los Angeles) today for a meeting, and will be bringing my trusty Super Ricohflex with me (see below, held by my son). I hope to blow the whole roll of film, but will be happy with a couple of shots.

Don’t expect to see these come Monday. I’ll have to get the film scanned (hopefully more than roll, on more than one camera) and posted. So it’ll be a few weeks. But that’s my little goal I’ve set out.

Super Ricohflex

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