Why and How: Seeking Inspiration in Nature Photography – Part 4

For this collection of landscapes of Kenya, we did a lot of research before the trip.
For this collection of landscapes of Kenya, we did a lot of research before the trip.

The Lack of Inspiration

Although we have identified and analyzed the rich periods of inspiration, we must admit that we have also experienced inspiration deserts.

When we decide to create some collections of art photographs, we are sometimes at a loss for inspiration. We have memories of being on the field producing photographs of landscapes, animals, or underwater sceneries and not triggering the camera once, simply because the picture is lacking in unique creative merit.

We had the opportunity to chat with other photographers who have experienced the same problem of "writers’ block", that is, a lack of imagination, an absence of creative desire, and motivational fatigue. It is a difficult and challenging experience.

We have found is these periods to often coincide with failure in personal or professional life. Generally, a failure results in a demotivation that leads to yet another failure. It is an infernal, infinite spiral. This can be terrifying if it lasts for months, and we have experienced this. This may happen between the interval of the creation of a collection and sales, thus dragging out into a year or more. Unfortunately, the burdens inherent to our society never cease, even in times when inspiration is nonexistent.

With experience and time, we have learned that failure should not feed that infernal infinite spiral. Failure must become a springboard for creativity. In recent years, we have been analyzing our failures in depth sot that we might better control both our professional and personal actions. We now consider each failure to be a basic building block, crucial to the foundation on which we build our lives. For us, failure has the same value as success. It deserves great attention; we should analyze it seriously and objectively.

Since we have adopted this analytical method, we are more likely to find plentiful periods of creativity. However, we are incapable of knowing when and how this momentum of creativity will reappear.

Loss of inspiration is often linked to stress, fatigue, failure. It is utterly useless to despair in this state, instead one should patiently recharge his internal batteries by resting.

Photographing Even When Not Inspired

Should we take a camera and go to the field when we are not inspired? We often asked ourselves this question, finally believing the answer to be "yes". For example, in the great outdoors of the Western United States, we originally did not want to make pictures due to a lack of inspiration or for fear or repetition. Surprisingly, we have realized that our pictures are both interesting and completely different from those of our predecessors. Of course, this is not always the case, but nevertheless, it has happened quite often. It is as if we were taking pictures without really being aware of what we were doing; our subconscious was working for us.

It is as if we become aware of our approach to the project in posteriori, having made series only by following this principle. This gives rise to interesting collections.

For this collection of landscapes of Kenya, we did a lot of research before the trip..
For this collection of landscapes of Kenya, we did a lot of research before the trip.

Photographing Even When Not Inspired

Should we take a camera and go to the field when we are not inspired? We often asked ourselves this question, finally believing the answer to be "yes". For example, in the great outdoors of the Western United States, we originally did not want to make pictures due to a lack of inspiration or for fear or repetition. Surprisingly, we have realized that our pictures are both interesting and completely different from those of our predecessors. Of course, this is not always the case, but nevertheless, it has happened quite often. It is as if we were taking pictures without really being aware of what we were doing; our subconscious was working for us.

It is as if we become aware of our approach to the project in posteriori, having made series only by following this principle. This gives rise to interesting collections.

How to Return to Inspiration in Nature Photography

When we realize that we are creatively dry and seeking inspiration, the first thing we do is to re-read all the foundations of our artistic approach: "an artistic and contemplative photographic interpretation of nature".

It is a document that we have printed and we always carry with us. We spent months defining our vision as artists and why we chose the themes we chose. Revisiting the foundations of our artistic approach humbles us again and again. This rich introspection allows us to resituate ourselves in relation to other people who are artists or clients. When we restate our unique personality, we begin to find inspiration again.

This first step is a giant step in regaining inspiration. We met many photographers who had never taken the time to write this document about their artistic approach. They have produced some very rich and interesting collections; however, their reserve of creativity was eventually used up. Since they did not have any solid landmarks or foundations, they could not find the initiative to produce interesting photos again.

The second technique to regaining inspiration is to return to resources. Our motto for this is "Show and share our passion for the beauties of nature". We return to nature to regain those energies we so badly need, which is why we chose nature photography as the theme for our professional photography career.

Nature is an inexhaustible source of inspiration. Contemplating a coastal landscape, strolling through a forest, breathing the smell of trees or plants, or observing a mineral landscape generates in us a multitude of emotions that translate into positive and creative energies.

We are used to saying that nature is an inexhaustible source of resources for those who focus on awakening each of the five senses. Observing nature allows us to refocus our creativity and view our photographs from a fresh perspective. The shapes, colors, smells and rustles of nature are fundamental elements for intense creativity.

Once we have resumed contact with the foundations of our artistic approach and we have explored a region of radiant beauty for a few days, we arrive at the third stage of regaining inspiration.

In this stage, we analyze the factors that resulted in our depression. We regain self-confidence. As we said earlier, failure is as important as success. If a collection has been refused by a gallery or has not met the expected success, we tell ourselves that perhaps the photos were not suitable for this specific situation. Perhaps the photos were not in the right place, at the right time, and with the right people. Showing one's work to others is always a risky act, as one is exposed to criticism. A refusal can seem devastating at first when we are nervous. During this analysis phase, we strive to be as objective as possible, expanding beyond the criticism we have received to regain self-confidence and seize opportunities, being sure to meet previously neglected points or goals. This phase, when we regain confidence in ourselves, is essential. After remembering our successes, we look at the positive side of our business by rethinking of others’ positive words and uplifting comments.

In general, when we have completed this cycle of introspection, we are able to rediscover the energy and ardor to create interesting new photographs.

For this collection of landscapes of Kenya, we did a lot of research before the trip.
For this collection of landscapes of Kenya, we did a lot of research before the trip.

Comparison to Other Photographers Can be a Mistake

We are passionate about the work of other photographers. Our library is composed of dozens of books devoted to both popular and lesser-known photographers who possess a remarkable artistic and photographic genius that we appreciate.

We are also subscribers to various magazines devoted to wildlife or landscape photography, thus keeping us informed of the latest artistic trends in the world of photography.

Yet, when we do not have inspiration, we do not open these books or magazines. Comparing our work to others can result in negative feelings, further accentuating our state of depression of artistic creativity.

Paradoxically enough, it is when we are in full artistic creation or that we are in a generally positive mood that we consult the work of other artists. As said in the previous paragraph, we prefer to return to the sources of nature when we need regaining energy.

For this collection of landscapes of Kenya, we did a lot of research before the trip.
For this collection of landscapes of Kenya, we did a lot of research before the trip.

Finally

Although it is difficult to define inspiration in a practical way, describing the many ways to achieve it, we know that inspiration is a state in which we feel light and free from unimportant daily contingencies. Even if our life is hectic, we choose a path of calmness and serenity, hoping to arrive in a state of tranquility.

The best method for this is to isolate ourselves far from the world. We think, dream, unleash our imagination, and allow ourselves to contemplate our emotions. Patience, tenacity, wonder, empathy with others, and leaving our comfort zone are the qualities necessary to create photographic works interesting for both us and our viewers.

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