Blog #77 Make it Then Break it
I’ve been blogging about creativity, the creative process, education, and many other topics related to photography for over two years now. From time to time, good old fashioned rest can be a welcome respite from the demands of the creative life.
In a strangely counterintuitive way, taking a break from the creative process can allow you to recharge and reinvigorate your creativity. For amateurs, hobbyists, and even the most professional of professionals, no one is consistently creative all of the time. Embracing times of low or no creativity or image making is a part of the natural process.
Making art is hard work. Making good art is really hard work. By definition, it involves making something new that no-one (including yourself) has ever done before. Artists tend to have creative bouts that last weeks, months, or even years. However, we all need and can benefit from a bit of distance from the creative process.
The creative process is like a conversation between the artist and the rest of humanity. Sometimes you listen, and sometimes you speak. Speaking is the making-part of the process while listening is the gathering of information that will, in turn, inform the speaking part.
Another analogy is to think of the creative process like the training program of an athlete. They must alternate between times of great intensity and strength building, and rest, lest they overtrain. Overtraining usually results in injury or a lack of growth, at best. During the rest periods, the muscles heal and regenerate so that the athlete can come back faster, stronger, and more capable of reaching higher levels in their fitness. Artists, too, must also alternative periods of high productivity and rest. Having some distance from images, or image making affords one perspective, insight, and allows the previous work to cure in their conscience.
When the artist photographer rebounds from this down time, their vision will be re-established, re-affirmed, and defined more clearly. How much down time is needed? Everyone is different. Perhaps a week or two, or a month should do the trick. Sometimes life gets in the way and forces you to take a break from the creative projects. Welcome this forced rest rather than fight it.
In short, there is only so much time in a day. Spend it with family, friends, pursuing other work, art, and play. All of these experiences will ultimately inform your art and image making. We are always learning and growing even when not engaged directly in the art of making images. Take a break. Then, come back better and stronger with a more defined vision of the images that you want to create.
Lastly, remember the light is always right.
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