My thoughts on inspiration

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September 5 2013 – I wrote this article in January 2010 in Swedish. I’ve tried to translate this into English and I hope you will enjoy the reading.

Many photographers sometimes feel a lack of inspiration, it just fails to appear. It simply runs out and that feeling also affects the self confidence, which makes it even harder to get started.

I believe the inspiration will run out if you allow it, the thought has to precede the emotion; I have no inspiration.  No inspiration whatsoever. You start feeling low and the mere thought of going out to create something is hard. You sit down and start questioning it; why am I even doing this, to what use. Who cares about my images. There’s no point in even trying. Why am I photographing. Who am I. Why am I feeling like this. And then we have the excuses… The light is too boring. It’s pretty cold outside. I don’t know where to photograph. I don’t know what to photograph. I have no inspiration. And so on…

One thing is for sure, if you keep telling yourself this, it will fade away. It will languish and eventually it becomes increasingly difficult to recover it. If we manage to recover it… because it’s not lost, it’s actually not as far away as you might think. You just have to tune in the right channel again, find the right frequency. Maybe you will even find new channels you never thought you had.

There’s inspiration everywhere, but if you keep telling yourself that it doesn’t exist, or that it has faded away, it will be difficult getting started, but you should never force it. It’s not a good idea sitting down and trying to tune in channels when you can’t even hear or understand what they’re saying (metaphorically speaking).

You can try to let it come back on its own, but it will not come back instantaneously if you just sit down and wait for it. You have to feel this hunger, you have to do something active; read, look at images, listen to music and maybe even listen to music you usually never listen to. It’s important to release the latch and relax. Then, when you least expect it, there will be a wave of inspiration and that’s where the real work begins. You have to work hard to keep it and develop it. Maybe it even gives you a project, a challenge.

Music inspires me a lot and also movies and reading. I’m inspired by the inspiration. I hold my light up and I feel that I constantly have to express myself, in what I see and what I feel. I want to develop. I keep my inspiration alive in being who I am. I will never stop seeing. I’m unique, you are unique. Everyone is unique. I make my images and you make yours, just photograph and don’t let the inspiration die.

26 comments

  1. Nice piece Malin. I too find music really helps, it relaxes and lets one be as one, at ease. It can also intensify too and bring out an emotion, providing release, relief and exaltation, xx

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  2. It’s interesting reading your thoughts on inspiration. I like to photograph occasionally and try to take the camera with me. In life anyway there’s a lot to explore and then it’s there, all by itsself. Great photograph!

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  3. …”I will never stop seeing. I’m unique, you are unique…” – says the mermaid of the woods, by her favorite lake…
    Thank you, dear Malin! (…smiling and smiling…)

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  4. I say: Must have missed this post. I go out. Staying inside only brings thoughts; going out brings images that can lead to new themes/ideas. Sometimes with just one prime to provoke creativity.

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    1. I say: Thanks Harrie! Appreciate your comment about this.
      I’m going out with my camera tonight and I hope to create something.

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  5. Tänkvärd text. Som kan ge upphov till nytt tankesätt eller vara det lilla sista innan polletten trillar ned :)
    Själv kan jag få nya idéer när jag springer/tränar.
    Fin bild med fin sagostämmning.
    /Christer K

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  6. Malin, my friend, I agree with you completely here. You should never try to force it – and yes, when you are ready to be inspired again, you will feel that creative “hunger” – a very apt word I think, “hunger” says it exactly.

    When I experience such uninspired feelings – often but not always when I’m tired – I just let go completely and don’t even thing about it. But then, eventually, that hunger comes, I feel it stirring inside me again, and suddenly the world is brighter and, if I’m lucky, I’m flying.

    Hugs from me, my friend, I hope you’re doing fine! Adrian :)

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    1. Thank you for sharing your thoughts, my friend. We all need to feel that we still have this “hunger”, in order to keep going…

      Hugs back at you (and yes, I’m fine and I hope you’re fine too).

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  7. Very interesting post, been wanting to comment on this; it´s so true as soon as the thoughts of no inspiration or lack of creative ideas set in, it becomes a thing of its own…
    I do agree with Harrie that seeing and going out there is a good one as well, adding to music and especially movies to bring inspiration. Or sometimes just start looking through your viewfinder and starting something that didnt immediately grabbed your attention works for me as well….
    A very creative weekend to you, my friend
    hug, Ron

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  8. Jag känner så väl igen mig i dina inledande tankar, om inspirationen och inbillningen att den sinat. Men jag drabbas allt mer sällan av detta, eftersom jag vet att några av de bilder som jag håller högst bland mina egna har jag gjort just sådana dagar. Dagar då jag först tänkt stanna hemma, eller göra något helt annat, med bristande inspiration som ursäkt inom mig.

    Bilden… De små vågorna som rör sig ut över sjön och stillheten. Stenarna, partiet uppe till vänster som ger dynamik och balans. Tonerna, den speglade trädlinjen. Fantastiskt!

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