Everyone has creative slumps, some call it lack of motivation, dead batteries or a lost muse. Regardless of what you label it, the result is the same...you have forgotten how to view the world with an artistic eye. The internet is filled with different ideas for you to overcome this stage. I have often found that the best solution is a step by step recipes.
This morning, I awoke to find my muse gone. She abandoned me completely, I honestly believe that she takes a vacation in January. There is something dismal in January, the cold, heavy clouds, short days coupled with the post holiday blues. As I woke up and looked for my muse, I began to worry that the weekend would pass without accomplishment.
So I decided to give myself a little project. One that I would work through, not for the end product but for the artistic process itself. So below is the recipes I used, feel free to adjust to suit.
The first issue is that we were up at 08:00 with a thick layer of clouds which gave very little light. It was that white, flat light that is so typical of London in January. It offers soft shadows and deceptively little light. It is cold light. Even at an ISO of 400 I was not going to capture anything. I decided to push the film to ISO 1600 (the limit of the light meter on the OM-1). This will give me heaps of grain...
The second issue is that even with this setting I was going to struggle to keep my light meter happy. So I decided to ignore the meter and let myself under expose to my hearts content.
I burned through the roll in a couple of hours. I shot images of the different details that my mind used to define a Saturday morning. The bare feet of my children, the warm cup of coffee, my wife drying her hair and that cold, flat light. I let this dismal light trickle into each of my photos and I let it light up what it would and accepted the plentitude of shadows.
I laid in bed, with my camera listening to the noise of the house waking up. I watched the scene around me and waited. Then I saw a foot, a mirror and a wonderful reflection. I composed the image in my mind, I stripped out the color, I noted the dull light and picked up my camera....click and my muse came back. I believe she realized that I was not going to go back to sleep, I was going to find gestures, capture them in whatever light I happened to find and accept the results.
I will share some of the images tomorrow. Maybe one or two will justify the entire effort. Tomorrow I will leave the house and go back to a nearby park. I will try to photograph the people and the gestures of the park itself....
Patrick...confirmed film & digital photography addict.