Wrestling in Kathmandu

In Creativity and Inspiration, Thoughts & Theory, Travel, Workshops and Events by David79 Comments

We’re on the second full day of the Kathmandu Within The Frame workshop, based in Boudhanath, and man am I struggling. My first task here is not creating a body of work, but teaching, but I believe the best teachers are the ones that are always learning, and man am I learning. The hard way.

I’ve never shyed away from just being honest, but man is it hard to admit the struggle I’m having right now. The creative life rarely exists in a vacuum, and mine increasingly exists with the demands of photographs for books, ebooks, blog posts, etc. That pressure – and I put it on myself – is becoming hard to deal with. It stands in the way of seeing things. In the case of Kathmandu, I’m here now for the 4th time and I’m repeating myself. Even the shot at the top of this page is a repeat of one I shot for Within The Frame. Heck, it’s even the same man! And it feel like the pressure to make photographs is the very thing preventing me from doing so.

On top of this I’m re-thinking the way I approach people. I’ve photographed people for the last 6 years, and it’s always been difficult, but it’s getting harder. Perhaps I’ve just lost my nerve, perhaps I’m becoming more conscious of the people themselves and less willing to intrude. I don’t know. Maybe it’s just that I’ve been there done that and the photographs that once said what I longed to express, I’m no longer burning to shoot.

Whatever it is, it’s a good reminder of the winding road of creativity. We’re never in the same place twice. We change. The things we see change. And so the way we photograph changes. I talk and talk about how hard it can be to create great images and sometimes I think my readers roll their eyes. Truthfully it’s not usually this hard. But right now, it feels like it’s killing me. All there is to do is push through it. Keep at it. Get my ass out of bed at 5:30am and remind myself that Resistance (see War of Art, Pressfield) is at least as hard at work as I am. Creating photographs is my work. Sometimes it feels like play, but it’s work. The work.

Why am I telling you this? In part because it’s the principle. Lots of blogs tell you about the latest toy and how great business is and how amazing the latest images are. But I’ve always felt like this blog has been a bit of an exercise in disclosure and that part of the value has been in relating my own journey and struggle. No photographer I know finds this easy all the time. No artist I know doesn’t wrestle the muse to the ground at times. Not the ones creating meaningful art. Maybe the meaning is in the struggle, I don’t know.

It’ll come, I know it will. And if it doesn’t then there’s a lesson in there about my work, my methods, or just the reminder that the well from which we all draw isn’t bottomless – it’s never bottomless. Might just be time for a re-fill. We’re in this for the long-haul, so short-term road-blocks aren’t the end of the world, but not paying attention to those road-blocks, and the lessons they have for us might be the end of our work.

But whining/suffering artist crap aside, being in Kathmandu again is amazing, particularly Boudha which is the Tibetan side of town, and a serene place in the middle of the chaos of the Kat.

Comments

  1. It’s not always easy but for me that’s part of the attraction. Feeding the brain is just as important as feeding the eye.

    And your honesty is always appreciated. 🙂

  2. yes, let none of us forget that we will continue to wrestle the resistance every day, whether we “feel” like it or not. Keep up the fight.

  3. Really nice post. You are in one of my favorite places on this planet.

    One that’s been photographed so many times in stereotypical formats.

    I do think there’s a lot still be explored within Nepal. Deep inside the class system there. The growing Chinese presence, and the 2011 year of tourism including the hike in entrance fees etc.

    Good luck with your task at hand

  4. If past-experience is anything to go by, personally I find those times when I’m travelling and feel I’m not getting any good shots (or repeating similar things I’ve done before) results in me getting home and finding out that actually I’ve taken some of the best shots I’ve ever done!

    I suspect those times when it all comes too easy and with little pain, means you’re not pushing yourself and just end up with average shots. (Does the old training motto “No pain no gain” apply here?).

  5. Your honesty is refreshing!
    So many times I read blogs & sites about “all is so greaaaat maaaan !!!” but you and few other (zack Arias for example) are just bringing us the human aspect of being a creative. Everything is impermanent as well our feelings and perspectives so questioning the way we do things can only bring new possibilities and path.
    boudahnath is quite a special place where one is drawn back to oneself, enjoy it, and thanks from my heart for your generosity.

  6. I recall we started a conversation, about how going down a creative path invariably gets harder over time, because of the kinds of issues you’ve just addressed.

    Not sure what interrupted the chat, it was probably wild dogs or E-Coli or some such, but in way it’s appropriate that the topic was left hanging. Maybe there are no real “answers” to this one.

    If I’ve learnt anything relevant, it’s the value of turning up and being honest, which of course, is what you are already doing.

  7. David, thanks so much for sharing. You are always an inspiration. I have been in Kenya for almost 6 weeks, and I have never struggled so hard with my craft, creativity, and shooting people. I am now sitting in back in Nairobi deciding to return to the US, or push through for another 6 weeks…..in very rural area’s and tough conditions..and am pondering some of the same questions you are.

  8. Regarding the logo. Perhaps incorporating a circle…for me, it says inclusive and spiritual. My understanding of your philosophy of life and photography, for that matter, is inclusive and spiritual. Something that says ‘shining light’ but indicates photography in a subtle way might be just what will satisfy you.

    Cheers,

    Wayne

  9. Oops, my comment above should have been on yesterday’s post regarding the calendar shot and logo discussion.

    Wayne

  10. I certainly understand. I’m coming up on the halfway point of a Project 365 and I’m struggling to produce a decent percentage of “good” images. I think what’s happening is that shooting every day for 157 days has pushed me to the edge of my previous ability and I’m now in unexplored creative territory. This is a good thing in the long run, but difficult at the moment. I’ll keep going because I want to see where the road is leading. It’s nice to know I’m in good company!

    Peace,

    Craig

  11. The thing I enjoy about your writing is the honesty you give in it. Many leading artist in our field would never admit to feeling a lack of inspiration or creativity, but you do.

    Its refreshing to see honesty in the industry that says “there are days I doubt myself.” It is good to know that those that follow are sometimes in the same boat with those that lead.

  12. David, it means a lot to know a photographer with your credentials and experience struggles through the same mental gymnastics as I do. It makes the process acceptable. Thanks for the encouragement.

    RG

  13. David,
    It just sounds like you’ve been working too much and need a break.
    I just came back from a few weeks in Kenya and the photo opportunities were the best I’ve ever had in my life! (My photography takes me around the world).
    The key to being comfortable with photographing people is to learn enough of their language to hold a conversation. That opens up worlds of opportunities. If you can talk with them in their language, friendships are created quickly and then the photographer becomes part of the photo process instead of the subject becoming just an object in a photo. Works for me! (I recommend Pimsleur language CDs).

  14. Study of the masters in art shows they have all struggled and if you look closely at their work it reflects that very fact. Nice honest post. Ponder where this struggle might be taking you creatively, your muse will come. I would imagine it will bring about one strong body of work that will define you at this time.

  15. I have owned an Advertising agency for over 40 years and my background is an art director/photorgapher. I have experienced the dry spells and wondered if I lost it as well as my creative department. The fact is it has come back and we continued to produce award winning advertising. I I know the feeling of being overloaded and I know I was the one who created my own situation. With that In mind I was able to step back and review everything. I cut back on being an administrator of a big company and focused on my creative input. I spent more time directing shoots and shooting, I reduced my staff and closed my LA office. In the long run it was the best thing I ever did for my self and my creative life. I enjoy you honesty having been there my self. Thanks GH

  16. I have your books, attended your CreativeLive weekend workshop. I was amazed to hear you repeating my story, with respect to struggles and habits and such. Your latest blog touches home as well.

    Thanks – few bloggers have the character to be this open and honest. It’s refreshing Sir

  17. Wonderful and honest post, David. I was so surprised when you told me that it is difficult for you to photograph people. You make it look so easy! I am sure your wrestling will produce even more amazing images.

  18. Every ride on a rollercoaster eventually will come to an end. That’s nothing to worry about. This planet offers millions of places you can draw inspiration and vision from to produce wonderful work. Give it time.

  19. David, your blog is special because you keep it honest and you write so well. Thanks for sharing this.

    I agree you just gotta work through it. Keep shooting, teach the workshops. That should hopefully someday out of the blue bring the inspiration and creativity back. If not, perhaps it’s time for a reduction in job load and administration and more time for yourself. I went through a terrible dry spell earlier this year. Bounced back fortunately, the incredible landscapes of the US southwest coupled with hard personal problems meant I buried myself in photography and refound myself and a new stronger passion.

  20. I have noticed a change in your images in the last year. You seemed to stray from people/cultural content and moved toward Fine Art/Landscape. Is an exhibition at a NY gallery next?

    You know it’s a journey and nobody stays stagnant for too long. Our images change over time and perhaps, this is just a little bend in your road. Don’t sweat it too much, after all, you are “living the dream”. Have fun. I hate it when you call it “work”.

  21. David,
    Thank you so much for sharing your struggles. So often we see the end product of a photographer, but we don’t hear the difficulty in creating. It makes my own struggles to create seem…well, normal.

  22. Reading your blog is very refreshing. As you’ve said…I’m no longer as giddy as I was about gear (now that I have most of what I need)…and I’m glad I have your e-books, and I would say they’re the best $5 I’ve spent so far.

    Though I’m an amateur at best, I look to your work for new ideas so I can build my own perspective of things…and reading about your honest struggles actually makes me more inspired. It just goes to show that even the best pros struggle too…but it’s Pushing beyond those “ruts” and pushing beyond those doubts that make you guys Pros!! That goes the same way with athletes too…the reason why they’re athletes, is because they push beyond what “normal” folks would give up on. And that makes us wanna-be-pro amateurs all the more left with less reasons to not try harder and build our own vision. 🙂

    So Mr. D…Thanks very much! Keep sharing…for your every struggle, there are hundreds of us fans who will be inspired to also push harder. =).

  23. @ IPBrian Couldn’t say it better.

    David, Thanks for your encouragement. Taking my family camping this weekend. Guadalupe River in the heart of Texas. Camera, check. Cool C&V E-books, check. We will be bringing it home with us.

    You know, come to think of it, my wife is learning to shoot & my boys. You are influencing a whole new generation of up & coming photographers!

  24. David, I am one of your newest followers and I really value your honesty. I think your attention to you state of being is what I find so compelling. You are not inert and that is a blessing. Thank you for all you do.

  25. Take heart David. All of us have experienced this in one form or another, be it with photography or anything else we’re passionate about. Heck, the last time I experienced it was only last month in India – I spent a day shooting at exactly the same place I’d visited the year before.

    Don’t worry too much about this spell – the only constant is change and I’m sure you’ll find your own inspiration when you stop looking hard for it.

    I want to remind you that you’re a huge inspiration to so many and I’d like to add my personal thanks for all you do to the sentiments others have echoed here.

  26. when you are stuck, it often helps to remind yourself that being stuck is a sure sign of a coming creative breakthrough.

  27. David, one of the reasons I read your blog is because it seems “real”. I have been amazed at your productivity in books / ebooks etc. But I do wonder if that incessant “production” element saps the energy from raw photography. Time for a break (though we’d miss the products!)?

  28. Sometimes ‘struggling’ means that ‘change’ is on the horizon. The fact that you have recognized the things you’ve discussed in this article is the first step in opening new doors or discovering new paths. Many of us have ‘faith’ in you, not just ‘expectations’.

    All my best to you,
    Andrew

  29. Sometimes the images look a whole lot better a week or two after you capture them. Then you may see you captured familiar things in new ways.

    The creative always breaks through if you just keep working…

  30. Just remember you are “The Conquistador”, but even conquistadors have the right to have a dry spell or lack of inspiration…tomorrow will be another day and I’m pretty sure you’ll win your battle with your Muse.

  31. Maybe David, you need to take less work shops and more on your own time. Thanks for your honesty and I read somewhere that it is good to have a photographer to look up to, well without sounding corny, you are mine and with honesty like that, it only reinforces that fact.

  32. Let me pass along a tip I read recently from a guest blogger over on Scott Kelby’s blog (I can’t recall the photographer’s name): put down the camera. Go out for a walk somewhere that you would normally bring your camera to. But don’t bring the camera. Just bring your self. Practice seeing the world “unmediated” by the tool known as a “camera.” Your “I” always has to precede your craft.

  33. Pingback: Waiting « Matthew Connors Photography Blog

  34. Thanks for sharing your struggles and observations with us. I second Darren German “…sure sign of a coming breakthrough,” and Andrew “change is on the horizon.” I look forward to seeing what you learn from this.
    Safe travels!

  35. David —

    keep at it. I think we all go through these. I’ve gone through it a few times, and I’ve found it to be the first stage in realizing that it’s time to stretch and grow myself into new and better areas. Don’t see it as a negative, see it as a signpost pointing you towards some unexplored area.

  36. David:
    Snap that Tilt/Shift lens of yours to a camera. That should restore the creative juices or at the very least force you to see things differently. However if that doesn’t do it for you send the lens to me; I also need a pick-up:)

  37. Thank you for sharing; it’s really refreshing to read about the struggles in addition to the triumphs.

    And DGalalis makes a good point. Even though it hurt to do it, some of my best afternoons on my last three week trip were the ones where I stopped taking photos.

  38. I’m sorry to have to say this, but after a couple years of loyal reading, I’m going to have to check out. This post was the proverbial straw. Your angst is exhausting. I can’t take it any longer. What are you looking for? You are in some exotic place, once again, as a photographer! What else do you want? If all the motivational books you’ve read can’t get you there, what will? And passing your angst on to your readers, making them think it is an inevitable and necessary part of the photographic process, is disappointing and misleading. Best of luck to you in your never-ending struggle David.

  39. Great post, David. I can see where some may roll their eyes at your creative struggle (sheesh, he’s in such an amazing and visually rich place, how hard can it be?), and I know I was hit with a touch of envy upon reading that you’re currently in Kathmandu (I was there twice over ten years ago, regrettably before I took any active interest in photography, and so I hope to make it back someday), but it got me thinking about how the muse often hides when we find ourselves in a “mundane” setting (i.e. someplace we’ve seen many times before, and which no longer excites the eye the way it did when we first discovered it). You travel everywhere, and as you said, this is your fourth time in Kathmandu, and so much of it probably seems known and ordinary to you, hence the struggle to find something different to latch onto.

    I have a similar experience each summer when we travel to the much less exotic thought still visually rich Pacific Northwest…I’ve gone there now for 7 years, and each year I struggle to engage something new in that environment and to bring back images that I think are good. Some years my photos have all sucked, but I’ve found that I’ve managed to get some really great shots during my recent trips. Getting them required me to change up my usual routine…go out in the early morning (something I don’t always do), consciously look for specific patterns, or (as you once wrote) connect with what my emotions happen to be at that particular time and look for images that convey them, whether or not those images may be expected or typical for the location I find myself in (i.e. the need I often feel to produce “pretty” pictures when visiting a beautiful place vs. looking for the soul of a place or taking photos that could have been taken elsewhere but which I happened to find where I was, etc.)

    Nothing you don’t already know (I mean, you’ve written books on the subject), but it’s encouraging (for me) to watch someone as gifted as you are struggle with the same things that an amateur like me deals with.

    Good luck, and namaste.

  40. Hi David,
    Thank you for such a refeshing, honest post. I posted something similar on my own website/blog recently covering roughly the same views and thought process you are going through at the moment. I feel that all creative people go through these phases where the artistic vision seems harder and the chosen art form does not come as quickly. Just don’t cut your ear off as a result!!

    As you are stating in your comment about repetition in your subject matter, I was looking at my photographs trying to decide what made them different or remarkable from others. I came to the conclusion that some were no betters than others, others were good and some were original for the area I photograph. This self doubt came ultimately from tiredness and over work, plus a constant drive to push myself forwards photographically to produce new work. This resulted in a trip to Nepal, just missing your arrival by a few days.

    The creative block will pass, but you may find suddenly that your direction of focus will change. Others above have detected a subtle change in your subject matter recently. Perhaps this is a phase where your vision is changing and you haven’t realised it yet. Taking new directions will open up the opportunity for a new creative process or an extension of your current work. Since my own creative crisis I have branched out into video and sound recording as well as my first love of photography, combining all of these into multimedia presentations. Now when I get a photographic block, I do not need to push myself into trying to make pictures, but just switch into video or sound recording mode. After a short while this normally restimulates my photographic vision and I can proceed as normal.

    At times like this it is tempting to believe that a new piece of equipment will stimulate the photographic vision. I tend to find that it just induces self loathing later for an unnecessary expense.

    Maybe it is not worth fighting the block against previous subject matter e.g. people portraits, but actively tring not to make these photographs instead. I personally struggle with street portraits for example. Not because of technical problems, as I have a history of studio portrait photography, but I feel that I am treating the person as no different to an animal in a zoo. When I engage more with people it helps, and some of my favourite images from Nepal are those from a school for Deaf children that I visited. They are not amazing images, but they mean more to me personally. I followed your example and bought a Polaroid Pogo printer which I used to print pictures for the children. By giving something back to them made the whole process more acceptable for me. Perhaps this is what you are missing. I wish I had time when I was in Kathmandu to visit and document the welfare centre for old people in Panch Deval next to Pashupatinath Hindu Temple. Maybe you could go there and spend some time with them. Don’t worry about making photographs, just observe for a while, talk to the staff if possible, perhaps some new images will come as a result.

    The current feelings will pass and new photographic images will come, just give it time. The subject may change but photography will still be your route of expression. Enjoy Nepal!

    Best wishes,
    Nick

  41. Hi David,
    Sorry to hear you feeling so weary… Remember it is a gift that you have, the way you capture moments, share your experiences and knowledge, and the life that photography has brought you. Your photography is a gift to thousands – 2 nights ago I downloaded your B&W jaguar wallpaper [something I have never done before] & every time I see it think ‘that’s what I aspire to’!

    You may feel disillusioned, as happens to us all, but seems to me you are asking where do you go to fill the creative well when all the amazing places you have been no longer ‘float your boat’?! Try my back yard! Nothing much going on there 😉

    Perhaps you need something new to focus on, different to the beauty you experience so often, perhaps the grittier side of life – you never get the ‘wow’ of new eyes on a new place twice – sounds like you’ve overdosed on what you do, this is not the first time this year you’ve felt this way… you are supported massively, and valued immensely, but what you are doing right now IS work, that’s what people are paying you for! Most people only dream of a life like yours – it’s tough at the top! Your life, like all, is your journey. Where you go next is up to you – Best Wishes with what comes next!

  42. Hey David,
    I love your blog because I appreciate how honest and down-to-earth you are – obviously, by the comments, I’m not alone in feeling that way. Even though you are incredibly upbeat and love your job, it makes sense that you will occasionally hit the wall, especially given your travel schedule. I adore travel and last summer I went to Europe twice, but I could never keep up with your schedule!! Since you seem to be such a natural teacher, maybe try focusing on one of your students for a day (you know, the one that’s so enthusiastic, has a twinkle in the eye and still finds everything shiny and new). Maybe a day sharing your love of photography will bring it all back … And think of your time in Iceland when your posts were so full of excitement for playtime!!
    Cheers, Vicky

  43. Thank you for this open post. I often read these blogs and I’m amazed at ALL they’re able to do and wonder if I’ll ever measure up or capable. It’s truly is refreshing to see a human (realistic) side and that you struggle too at times. I know you’ll get your mojo back and put it all in perspective. You’ve started the process with this post. I see that many understand and have provided support.

    Thanks for sharing your insights and wisdom. It’s truly appreciated!

  44. Author

    HI folks. I can’t express my gratitude enough – thank you for this encouragement. We talked about this last night at dinner; the cycles that we go through, as artists, seem so clear to others, even to ourselves when it’s someone else getting the crap kicked out of them by an over-zealous muse who wants our milk money at recess. But we ourselves don’t see it so clearly when in the midst of it. Going to give the cameras a rest and take some heavy meds to calm the voices 🙂

    Thanks again for the kind words. Nothing I don’t know in these comments, but plenty I’d forgotten. I am in the midst of the best photography/arts community on the planet – thank you!

  45. thank you for your honesty, David. I hope your dry spell goes away soon and you’ll be able to see and shoot new things that move you.
    Or maybe, like some of the others have said, it is time for a break to feed your soul?

  46. Sorry to hear you’re struggling. I empathize a bit, as I struggle so much every time I shoot (and every time I wish I could be out shooting but can’t).

    You said it yourself – you’ve put a lot of pressure on yourself. In my opinion you can’t force creativity. I suggest you switch to play mode – Holga, iPhone, finger box at arms’ length, go for a run, play some crazy music, etc.

    Thank you for your honesty and transparency! I feel like you’re a close friend of mine, even though we’ve never met and you wouldn’t know me from Einstein’s Ghost. Best wishes in your journey.

  47. I think that tomorrow you should make an assignment for yourself to photograph people doing the worst jobs that you can imagine. Garbage men, janitors, flight attendants, etc. and try to make them beautiful. If you can find hope in people doing something you could never imagine having to struggle with day after day, it might make you remember how much you love what you have chosen to do!

  48. David, I appreciate your honesty. I know that you will push through this dry spot and will take many memories back to Canada (the good and the bad)…

    Peace,
    Iris

  49. I recently experienced the same tension while leading my first photo tour—the balance between teaching and photographing.

    I find that when my creative well is dry, two things are in line. 1. Time to take care of my soul. 2. Something creative that’s NOT photography. For me it’s often guitar. If I’m really desperate, it’s pencil drawing.

    You know these things, I’m sure… but this is what community is for, right?

    In terms of how we approach people… this is a deep topic with many layers. You’re going somewhere deeper… press on and keep exploring! Hope we can talk about this topic over some coffee someday, brother.

    Peace,
    Mario Mattei
    http://www.visualpeacemakers.org

  50. I am going to ignore all the other comments and say this. 6 years of day and day out photography, that is a lot of work. But it is something that you put your heart into in order to help those like me who are struggling to even get started in this wonderful world of photography. For that I say thanks man. The roadblocks are there, like you said, to teach us. I think they are there to tell us to slow down, to look around, to see what we weren’t seeing cause we have blinders on for that goal, the project, the photo we have to get. I say a photo yesterday of a gorgeous sunset, all beautiful pink hues and clouds. The artist stated that she almost missed it, cause she didn’t turn around. I told her to always look around, you never know what you will see. The roadblocks in our lives give us that opportunity. Take them as that. And as for the picture above, seriously, it doesn’t matter if you take it twenty times, or a thousand, each one is different remember? Later man, and thanks.

  51. i am not not sure if we’d be really human if we didn’t doubt ourselves and fall into ruts ever so often. the pursuit of excellence is a pain in the neck and breaking out of the rut is surely worth the annoyance that it brings. you really are an inspiration to us all. thanks.

  52. Well, the only thing I can tell you is that it happens to all of us. What I do in a similar situation, especially when I don’t feel like shooting, is shoot the way I feel. That being said, I’ve shot garbage for a day, literally, tried to destroy a camera in the rain, because I was pissed…and so forth. While this may not be the way to go when making a living, admitting we are human, and showing is perfectly normal. Who knows capturing emotion may be quite emotional 😉
    Thanks for your full disclosure! and the rest

  53. Hang in there. I’ve not been shooting half as long as you have, and I faced one of those sorts of roadblocks/creative blocks/stage frightish sort of things in the spring. Not cool. It doesn’t feel good. You’re right, keeping going and pushing through it was the only way I found to get over it. I also found that my work got better after that period of time. Maybe with each phase of struggle we come out as better people and better artists. That’s what I’ll choose to believe so the next time it happens I’ll know good will come of it.

  54. Author

    @Phil (#43) Wow, well, thanks for hanging in as long as you did. Must have been tough with all the nihilism hanging around here. Hope you find the kittens and rainbows you’re looking for. 🙂 Seriously, I’m grateful you’ve been around, sorry you’re leaving, but even more sorry you’ve not taken this in the spirit in which it was written. Anyone that knows me knows I’m far from angst-ridden. Just looking for the muse, man. Best of luck to you.

  55. When I get that “uncreative” feeling, I take my camera off the tripod and create images using motion of various types, to break the block. Sometimes I get great images from that break from the tripod. Sometimes not. But it definitely boosts my creativity once I return to the tripod. It is so freeing.

  56. Well done for writing this. These feelings arise and pass and are not who we are. We come through. Best of luck to you and to us all.

    John

  57. Greetings Monsieur duChemin. I was once in a seemingly insurmountable creative rut; didn’t know what to do. Went to my local pipe shop and picked up a tin of MacBaren Gold of Denmark, stopped and got a bar of Lindt Swiss Bittersweet chocolate and some great whole-bean Kona coffee. Got home, ground some beans, made coffee, and ate five pieces of chocolate. Grabbed one of my cameras and a 14-24/2.8 lens. Went outside, fired up some of that delicious MacBaren tobacco, set the lens to 20mm, left it there and began a survey of my backyard. After about twenty minutes I spied a little moth who could not fly. He (or she) was busily walking back and forth across a great root of a huge maple tree; I knew I had the subject for my photographic creativity-renewing adventure. I left that lens at 20mm and for about an hour and a half I photographed that little moth from every angle and used every combination of aperture and shutter speed that I could think of. Some with deep rich greens in the surrounding grass and some very interesting overexposures of the various brownd of the root. My goal was to tell the unique story of that moth’s day. I was amazed at how my vision kicked into high-gear as if that little moth was directing me and I was but the cameraman. It was fully four years before I fell back into the rut on un-inspiration. Perhaps there is a beetle or moth over there who may play Director for you?

  58. Don’t have any wisdom for you. Just, welcome to being human. And glad to hear that you are as well! Sometimes you seem a bit superhuman with all you do.

    Take a deep breath. And then take the next shot.

  59. I hate to over simplify, but I think you need a rest. Sometimes the hardest thing to do is to allow yourself to take care of you.

  60. Pingback: Struggle and Wrestling With The Muse ~Saturday Special » Surface and Surface Photography Photo Blog

  61. Author

    Thanks, Tom. Yeah, this one’s been very atypical. Been a long time since I’ve had anything more than a cold on a trip and now I’ve had my boots stolen, e.Coli, and what appears to be food poisoning or something even less fun that that. Ugh. But, like I said, it’s been a long time so my number’s probably been not only up but overdue. On the other hand I’ve camped with nomads at 15,000 feet, watched the moon come out over the Himalaya in a cloudless starry sky, met some wonderful folks, and seen a great deal of beauty. The health issues seem a small price to pay. 🙂

  62. Feel better, get some new boots and take a real break, humans need breaks. Slow down and recharge your personal battery.

  63. Oh God, yes, when you put it like that, you are a lucky man indeed, and those memories will last a life time, plus beauty is the food of the soul.

  64. 70 positive comments v 1 negative – I know which ones I’d keep! Angst is part of the process for most – it’s the price of sensitivity. Tony Harrison says how he used to fight it – but now “the darkness is my friend”. I’ve always found that helpful – that you can find some peace even in the angst (and being sick never helps 😉

  65. Stress can be a mind killer. I shoot to relieve the stress of my day job and find it hard to relax and allow ideas to flow in. if photography is the source of your stress cut back to the point where you can allow ideas to float in rather than try and pull them in on a deadline. I think if your are creating on a deadline then your are doomed to recycle ideas.

    When you were a comedian, did you do new material every night?

  66. Dave .. I can call you Dave right? OK – Dave – relax. With all the greatest respect – it’s not like you’re trying to cure cancer here. Chill out – and remember – there are much more stressful jobs – like trying to cure cancer. Kick back, chillax, soak up the ambience of where you are (or were – its a bit further along time wise from when you posted this) – let the buddist calmness wash over you & and massage your soul and just ….. ah …relaxxxxxx…………… repeat after me ….. ohhmmmmmm …….ohmmmmmmmmmmmmm ….. 🙂

    Hope ya got over the tummy bugness 🙂

  67. Honesty is great. That’s one of the reasons I read your comments. The knowledge that others struggle, change, and persist through it all is encouraging. Thanks.

  68. Personally, I want a teacher who struggles. Who else could help get me through my difficulties?

  69. Pingback: Waiting – Matthew Connors Photography

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