On The Creative Bloc

By |2012-07-28T11:04:19+00:00Jul 26th, 2012|

I just saw a post by my good bud, +Ricardo Lagos, where he mentioned that he was taking a break from photography and post processing because it was starting to feel like a chore more than anything else. I have no doubt that more of us out here than less can wholly empathize with Ricardo, myself included.

We’re photographing more every day than all of mankind did in previous centuries. We’re sharing images more and more by the hour, by the minute! We’re ingesting new ways to photograph and to share photographs. It’s a remarkable and busy time that we live in.

I know the feeling that you can get when you launch Lightroom, flip through folder after folder and catalog after catalog of images and it just seems like you’re looking through them but not at them. It can be disheartening and soul-crushing because it is at that very moment that your act of photographing and processing moves from an enjoyment to a chore.

How you proceed from this moment is critical. It’s easy to take this moment and magnify it only because it affects a part of you that is so near and dear – your creativity. But like any other muscle, your mind and your eye need constant training and exercise. That doesn’t necessarily mean that you need a camera in your hand 24/7 but it also doesn’t mean that you should flip that switch to off, either. Take a rest, maybe just take the images without actually importing them. Just make sure that you never begin doubting how creative you actually are because creative fatigue happens to the best of us.

So I want to give my man, Ricardo, a shout out and tell him something that I’m sure he already fully knows – This too shall pass. You’ve got friends here and when you’re ready to crush some images, we’ll be ready for ’em.

In album Pic Picks Over The Years (1 photo)

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46 Comments

  1. Marie Hélène Visconti July 26, 2012 at 8:54 am - Reply

    Superb photo

  2. Rüdiger Pannenborg July 26, 2012 at 8:54 am - Reply

    fine arts

  3. Amy DangRabbit July 26, 2012 at 8:54 am - Reply

    Well said, great photo!

  4. Lizette Mendez Barrios July 26, 2012 at 8:55 am - Reply

    Me encantó el tono azulado de la foto.

  5. Gray Kinney July 26, 2012 at 8:55 am - Reply

    +Brian Matiash Thanks for your comments and thoughts. I have been feeling much the same lately. 

  6. holger feroudj July 26, 2012 at 8:56 am - Reply

    Fantastic post, I love what you wrote +Brian Matiash and I know that feeling very well (as I guess most digital photographers).
    Well, I can only say taking a rest is not bad. When that happens to me I put my dSLR on the shelf and take my film camera to slow down, and to take photos again without caring about anything at all. And yeah, after some time it comes back, the desire, the passion :)

    So yeah, take a break +Ricardo Lagos – everyone needs one every once in a while. After days, weeks, months you'll be back on track better than before ;)

  7. Peter Carroll July 26, 2012 at 8:59 am - Reply

    Great post and I'm lovin' this shot!

  8. Amy Heiden July 26, 2012 at 9:02 am - Reply

    When the one thing that lets you escape from the rest of the world becomes something you want no part of, it can be scary and overwhelming, but you're right, it definitely will pass.

    To some extent, this is why I generally wait a month or two before diving in and editing photos from a trip. Sometimes stepping away helps gain a new perspective. 

  9. Eustace James July 26, 2012 at 9:03 am - Reply

    Great post, Brian.  I think that it's almost essential to take a step back sometimes to refresh your perspective a bit.

  10. Ron Wiecki July 26, 2012 at 9:04 am - Reply

    to me, it just means you need to think before you press the shutter. that does wonders

  11. Ray Cornell July 26, 2012 at 9:07 am - Reply

    simply amazing, beautifully composed and great lighting.

  12. Joseph Fanvu July 26, 2012 at 9:08 am - Reply

    Great image and post, Brian! In a way it helps to know that everyone goes through this too.

  13. Lotus Carroll July 26, 2012 at 9:08 am - Reply

    Amen.

  14. Ricardo Lagos July 26, 2012 at 9:09 am - Reply

    +Brian Matiash .. great post, thanks. Feels good to be gotten by my friend.

  15. Sandra Parlow July 26, 2012 at 9:14 am - Reply

    Gorgeous image, Brian.  

    I know too well the feeling of being overwhelmed into a comatose stupor as far as photography (or any other creative outlet) goes.  

    These periods come and go and it's ok to take a break and shake off the  pressure.  

    Enjoy your break +Ricardo Lagos  = and I hope you are back to your old self soon.  Big hugs to you my friend! ;)  ?

  16. Irene Moreira July 26, 2012 at 9:19 am - Reply

    I like the feeling of antiquity with the reflection of the glass … into the current!

  17. Barry Blanchard July 26, 2012 at 9:20 am - Reply

    Photography needs to be fun in my world. 

    There's been many times where it wasn't in the past year, so I fully understand. 

  18. Marty Cohen July 26, 2012 at 9:23 am - Reply

    I also go through that feeling periodically. It does get discouraging at times, then something or some location peaks my interest and I start up again. When I started my blog, I said I'm going to post a new photo every day. After a few months of that, "chore" was a mild word to describe how it felt. I think I'm finding a better balance these days.

  19. Susy Vertiz July 26, 2012 at 9:26 am - Reply

    Photagraphy is one of the things that keep me going… without it… what is there tfor me to do? It's not a chore.. it's an art. An art that we create and an art with many meanings..

  20. Joe Dolister July 26, 2012 at 9:43 am - Reply

    LIfe without "Cycles" would be incomplete and I think a mistake is made when inner voices and decisions are not honored. It's good to see someone go with it!

  21. Elia Locardi July 26, 2012 at 10:14 am - Reply

    Great post man. Really good read. :)

  22. Michael Lawson July 26, 2012 at 10:15 am - Reply

    Nice post Brian.  Part of the problem today may be the feeling (even if it's subconscious) that you need to compete with all the other great photographer we surround ourselves with here on the internet.  You've got to slow down sometimes and shoot for yourself and your own improvement and not try to "one-up" the guy who has WAY more time than you, or has that 800mm lens you covet while you do the best you can with your 300.

    I try to take little breaks before things start to feel like a chore.  Lead a photo walk in one of my favorite locations, but don't bring my own camera, just assist others.  Have lunch at the local park and observe things that I may miss when I'm specifically looking for a photo op.  I like to stay in the realm of wildlife and photography, but step out from behind the camera once in a while.  The second I know I missed a shot I would have loved to have, I know it's really not a chore at all :)

  23. Marty Cohen July 26, 2012 at 10:20 am - Reply

    Well said +Michael Lawson I like the way you put it.

  24. Michael Lawson July 26, 2012 at 10:24 am - Reply

    Thanks +Marty Cohen !

  25. Karen Hutton July 26, 2012 at 11:05 am - Reply

    I LOVE this photo – and LOOOOOOVE this post +Brian Matiash!! We aren't trained in this society to understand what "balance" is. Ebb and flow… fill up, empty out… inspire (which literally means "breathe in") and  and rest. We always seek more-more-more… and when more isn't enough, push for MORE. I'm tired just writing that. It's taken a loooooong time to let go the death grip on the reins of that little voice inside that knows when to quit, take a break, change gears, seek other inspiration or bliss. I come from a loooong line of overachievers – and frankly sometimes just achieving less is just so good for the heart and soul. It's an act of bravery to step back and say "Taking a break now", when all that conditioning says "You'll be left in the friggin' DUST!!! GoGoGo!!" 

    Once again… one of the definitions of "Inspire" is: to inhale. 
    Breeeeeathe. Take a break – go listen to music, dance with your lover, eat pasta, watch a movie, go on vacation, climb a mountain, whatever. That's power. To do what YOU need, no matter what anyone or anything says.

    I'm not lecturing anyone here… I think I'm reminding myself of one of the most important elements for my own Life Worth Living… and that's freedom. Aaaaahhhhhhhh. I can work with that. 

  26. Joe Dolister July 26, 2012 at 12:11 pm - Reply

    Great photo Brian! 

  27. Katherine Mollon July 26, 2012 at 12:17 pm - Reply

    I've been alternating b/t periods of film photography & digital because they burn me out in different ways.

  28. Steve Bottoms July 26, 2012 at 1:15 pm - Reply

    My high school programming teacher once said (many years ago!), "Sometimes you just have to go fishing."  :)

  29. Jeff Arrington July 26, 2012 at 1:43 pm - Reply

    I just wanted to thank you +Brian Matiash and +onOne Software for putting the suite on sale again. I wanted it last time but didn't have the denero. 100 bucks off is a STEAL! Now, I'm probably headed for a burn out. 

  30. Brian Bonham July 26, 2012 at 1:58 pm - Reply

    Love that blue!  And yah, I can totally sympathize with Ricardo.

  31. Suzanne Haggerty July 26, 2012 at 2:01 pm - Reply

    It's true.  I've been burnt out lately too … not from shooting, but from launching/re-launching websites, etc., etc.  Sometimes it's great to just take a few days off.  I usually last about an hour until I want my camera back in my hands.  +Brian Matiash 

  32. Sandra Parlow July 26, 2012 at 2:11 pm - Reply

    I wonder…. if  a person were to actually pack their gear away and say "you are NOT ALLOWED to even pick this up for one whole week" (or however long) if that would make you want to use it – you know.. kind of like when you have the water turned off you suddenly have to use the toilet?  LOL!

  33. Amy Heiden July 26, 2012 at 2:22 pm - Reply

    Great comment +Karen Hutton

  34. Chris Bagley July 26, 2012 at 2:23 pm - Reply

    A lot of people, myself included have been feeling like this and it's good to know I/we are not alone but you are so right Brian, it shall pass. The pressure of the post or no one knows you exist is something I have felt but luckily we all have amazing friends here that will support us.
    Great post!

  35. Karen Hutton July 26, 2012 at 2:40 pm - Reply

    Thanks +Amy Heiden… it's so true, right? Just had to say it. We need to support each other's sanity!

  36. Brian Matiash July 26, 2012 at 2:50 pm - Reply

    +Karen Hutton You actually inspired the topic around tomorrow's episode of Perfect Inspiration. I finished writing it up and am heading into the studio to record the workflow video.

    It's all about inspiration and how fleeting and important it is.

    And thank you, everyone, for your amazing replies. We all know what each of us are saying in these replies but sometimes, it's really nice to just be reminded.

  37. Karen Hutton July 26, 2012 at 2:54 pm - Reply

    I think it has to be part of our ongoing conversation – within ourselves – and with each other +Brian Matiash! I'm stoked to see Perfect Inspiration tomorrow!! 

  38. Amy Heiden July 26, 2012 at 2:54 pm - Reply

    +Karen Hutton  It's funny how I knew what you said, but you said it in a more realistic way and brought it back to society and why we do it. It's a great reminder. 

  39. Karen Hutton July 26, 2012 at 3:04 pm - Reply

    +Amy Heiden… it's something I have to constantly talk to myself about. Every. Single. Day. 

  40. Andy Smith July 26, 2012 at 3:10 pm - Reply

    Really interesting points, +Brian Matiash I found myself a handful of times getting into a cycle of 'what random photo in my LR library matches a G+ daily theme for that day'?  and I did come to realise that tracking down, processing and posting a shot purely for the sake of posting is too close to 'chore' for comfort. I'm over that now ;)

  41. Amy Heiden July 26, 2012 at 3:15 pm - Reply

    +Karen Hutton: No kidding, eh? I used to spend a few nights a week at home, editing photos, having friends over for wine or just watching a movie. Now I am hardly home. It's so easy to keep a fast-paced lifestyle when that's what you're used to. 

  42. Cooksterz Littlefield July 26, 2012 at 3:23 pm - Reply

    I wanted to say something, but i dont have time for commenting now… All these pics to flip thru!! :D lol

  43. Don Malone July 26, 2012 at 7:15 pm - Reply

    Photography is so much more when we look at it as a type of therapy.  There is so much we can gain from understanding that photographers create images because of a satisfaction of creating.  The therapy aspect is what has inspired me to start trying to learn how to make people smile from a photograph, just as I am sure +Ricardo Lagos has done along with the entire Google + community.  Thanks +Brian Matiash for showing us what a real community is about!

  44. Darlene Hildebrandt July 26, 2012 at 7:46 pm - Reply

    thanks for that +Brian Matiash  well said and yes it happens to all of us.  If I could count the number of times in the last 25 years I was gonna throw in the towel, I'd need more fingers and toes.  But I always found a way to reinvent myself and start anew somehow.  +Ricardo Lagos  I don't know your own unique situation, but do just what you said.  Put it on the back burner for a while, a week, two weeks.  Don't touch a camera or lightroom.  Don't look at photos or art.  Then see what happens.  If you're like me – you're drawn to it.  But do it on your own terns, because you want to.  Because you have to.  I do.

  45. Steve Coleman August 1, 2012 at 1:37 am - Reply

    Well said. I too need to stop and break for periods of time.

  46. Goojo F August 2, 2012 at 12:38 am - Reply

    i like it colour

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