I’ve been lacking in inspiration lately for some of my personal projects whilst being swept up in paid work and community projects. It’s a problem that I’ve been addressing by seeking inspiration elsewhere.
The best inspiration for me comes from going to new places and just shooting away at random to collect pictures of my surroundings. It’s the same technique that I use with participants of my photography projects but turned inwards in order to be therapeutic for myself.
I take so many pictures but allow myself to keep only the best one to push myself forward. The is no point in keeping every picture ever taken and editing is a useful way to declutter and recognise the things that are important from a particular experience. I’ve never had that collector instinct and I would rather keep one excellent photograph over a thousand reasonable ones. The one I choose should be representative of the whole experience so that it can trigger memories of the day. It doesn’t have to feature anything of personal significance. Sometimes there is just a compositional element which has caught my eye, or a trick of the light to remind me of how it felt at that particular moment.
The feeling triggered by the photograph is what holds importance for me rather than any meaning of the subject itself. When I see that photograph I need to feel the same as I felt on the day that I took it. I need the photograph to transport me back to that space and time and place me into a memory worth remembering.
Similarly, editing the photograph itself doesn’t always have importance for me. I often don’t bother with anything more than a quick crop or a contrast alteration. I felt that today’s photograph needed it to enhance the memory of the experience. Here, adding a texture is like adding a visual scent to tempt my brain back to that particular moment.
This image is strong enough that I can recall it without seeing the original. I can feel it in its entirety through my mind’s eye and transport myself back to the experience of taking the photograph. This time travelling aspect of photography is what I’m connected to. My photograph transports me back to a particular space and brings the mindfulness I felt then into my present day. It is this feeling that I will carry forward with me as I start this new week.
I will use its strength of character to evolve my own mental strength.