Do photographers have slumps?
Seems reasonable, but I don’t think there’s a great body of research on the subject.
Last week, I had two appointments with winemakers to do portraits and I felt like Tim Lincecum on the hill without his fastball. I had nothing, not an idea in my head. I couldn’t seem to find a situation that worked; even when I had a decent location I couldn’t find an interesting composition. It wasn’t just the fastball, couldn’t get the curve or slider over either.
What is it, what causes it, and how do you deal with it? At the time I just kept pushing, hoping for a gift that didn’t come. In both cases I kept moving and moving my subjects until I sensed that time was up. If I had a manager, he would have pulled me long before I quit. When I got home I didn’t really need to look at the photos, I knew.
I imagine it’s somewhat akin to writer’s block; it feels like there’s a vacancy where your creativity used to be. It’s one of those dreams where you show up late for school and realize you’re naked. Maybe it’s not enough preparation, not taking it seriously, maybe I was just tired or forgot my medication.
There’s fear too, that maybe I’ve just run out of ideas, have nothing left to give, or maybe I’ve exhausted the subject. Or wait, here’s another, ADD. Just can’t seem to concentrate. Watching Lincecum this year, I thought that was his problem, maybe it’s mine. That might also explain why learning French has been so hard.
That’s enough of that, what I need here is a new approach to portraiture with a consistent style that I can exploit through a body of work. I don’t think we’re talking Avedon white backgrounds, but I’m not sure. The environmental, let’s go out to the vineyards thing just isn’t working anymore.
So send me your suggestions, or prescriptions, I need to get back out on the mound soon.
In the meantime, here’s something I did recently that I do like.