The impulse to take a photograph is often mysterious in origin. Sometimes ideas appear to jump into your head with little effort, other times you can go for months without anything triggering the desire to pick up the camera.

[clickToTweet tweet=”Creativity, like most things, requires practice.” quote=”Creativity, like most things, requires practice.”] I’ve found that the more photos I take, even if the ideas don’t work out in the end, get me into the groove of taking photos. When the LEGO bricks are out and all of the lighting equipment is set up it lowers the energy required to get started on a new idea.

There’s a famous test for creativity that involves giving yourself a short time limit (say a minute) to come up with as many uses as possible for a simple brick. You’re welcome to try it now, I’ll wait. Some struggle to get past the obvious uses of building a house or wall or throwing it at something, but others can list tens of possibilities in that time.

The way I approached that test, and also one of the things I do to think up new photography ideas is to go on a journey. Not a real journey, but a mental expedition with whatever my brick happens to be that day (it’s normally a LEGO minifigure!). Start wherever you like, if you started by waking up in bed then maybe the brick could be heated to make a foot warmer, maybe to prop up a wonky leg on the bed, maybe a stand on the bedside table to keep your watch on, maybe you could use the brick to keep the door open so the cats/dogs can get in and out. Already it’s much easier because your options are more limited.

I find limiting the environment like that extremely helpful when searching for inspiration. Most of the ideas I come up with are useless, but occasionally I’ll get the seed of something that I can turn into a photograph.

The nice thing about that technique is that it’s something you can actively do. No waiting around for the magical force of “inspiration” to insert ideas in your head. You get to choose when you want to be inspired, and that’s pretty cool.


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9 years ago

Such a beautiful post and such a wonderful image.

Love it.

8 years ago

This is exactly what I needed to read. Thank you for your pictures and your inspirational words!

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
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