Consider The Creation: A Strategy For Exiting The Creative Rut
Text & Photographs By Gary Slawsky  © All rights reserved.

Often our approach to photographing a subject is to capture it on impulse. This strategy can result in excellent photographs. However, after capturing the moment, this strategy often leads to a photographer wondering what's next. One alternative is to study an area for awhile in order to become familiar with the environment and its affect on the subject. This is an excellent way to capture a feeling and also witness how subjects change under different lighting and atmospheric conditions. However, this approach takes time which many of us do not have if we are not pursuing photography as a full time profession. What often happens next is that we as photographers fall into the creative slump. I have come to realize after actively pursuing photography for thirty years that the opportunities nature offers © Gary Slawsky are without limit, the creative works seen in all areas of the Outdoor Eyes Website are testimony to this fact. Personally, I have concluded that it is usually my approach to the environment and subject matter within the environment that causes the creative malaise.
 
One relatively unproductive day while photographing at Sandy Hook National Recreation Area and being stuck in a photographic rut, I noticed how the reeds would blow in the wind and create designs in the sand and it occurred to me that nature is really the artist here, using a combination of light, wind and texture (i.e., sand as a canvas) to create a work of art. From that time on whenever I visited Sandy Hook I questioned what nature was trying to do with its artistic tools. I soon discovered that my photographic trips to this area were much more productive when I observed the environment with this approach. Let me be clear, I am not dismissing the value of impulse or the study of an area as approaches that can lead to wonderful photos. I am suggesting that, at least in my case, viewing an area by asking how the tools of nature were used to create an interesting subject has resulted in more usable images per trip than just going to a location and observing.
 
As an additional bonus I soon realized that many subjects can be approached from this viewpoint with slight modifications based upon the existing environment. For example, when photographing structures it helps to consider when it was built, who built it, the technology and social climate at the time of construction and any other items that contributed to its creation. I have also come to realize that a photographic trip to an area can be even more productive if this approach is combined with the study of an area over time to achieve an even higher production of successful images when compared to using each of these approaches independently. I'm not sure how much everyone else's creative mind is like mine but I hope that you at least try this approach and see if you are surprised at the results.


 
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