One of the most challenging things in the wintertime is to overcome the feeling of depression, gloom, and to discover inspiration and motivation to make photos, explore, find joy and optimism, and make art.
Why is it hard to be motivated in winter?
The last few moths, I’ve spent pretty dark and cold winter times in Berlin, Prague, and now here in London. Many people get “seasonal affectiveness disorder”— which means feelings of doom and gloom in the dark, cold, winter months.
Why do we feel negative emotions, thoughts, and feelings in the wintertime?
In the winter, it is colder and darker, and thus we are less motivated to get out of the house, wander around, and walk.
I think that the more time we spend indoors, the more miserable we are. Not only that, but the colder it is, the less we walk. The less we walk and the less we move, the more miserable we are.
So therefore, I don’t think it is the darkness which actually makes people feel depressed. I think it is simply the lack of movement, activity, and making of photographs or art.
Therefore my simple solution to overcoming the doom and gloom in winter: Make more photos and art in the wintertime.
How to find inspiration during winter
First of all, spend less time indoors at your apartment. Spend more time going to exhibitions, shows, and museums. While here in London, I had a huge flash of inspiration when going to the TATE modern art museum, where I was inspired by futurist sculpture, the work of Piet Mondrian, and seeing the photos of Stephen Shore (American surfaces) and Martin Parr (luxury, common sense, and the last resort).
Use a flash
Also a practical suggestion: shoot with a flash in the wintertime. You cannot always shoot natural light when it is dark in the winter.
Just use the integrated flash in your camera, and if not, just buy a small flash and shoot in program automatic mode.
Practice shooting different types of surfaces, textures, and colors, to illuminate your scenes, and find inspiration to shoot regardless of the lighting situation, and regardless if it is dark or not.
Go on night walks
I’ve been more inspired to shoot night photography, even though it is cold. Just put on a warm jacket, and go on more evening walks, and take your camera along.
Shoot high iso, like 1600-3200. Don’t expect to make any good photos. Just enjoy the brisk evening walk, and even experiment shooting blurry and out of focus photos.
If there is nobody to photograph, just shoot selfies and shadows of yourself.
Go out to dinner with friends, family, or even by yourself
Don’t make yourself miserable at home. Go out to a bar, restaurant, or cafe. Bring your camera along, and shoot whatever you find interesting indoors.
Remember, the point isn’t to make the worlds best photos, but for you to keep shooting, and just keep your eye sharp.
Never stop shooting and making visual art (photos)
No matter how shitty the weather, find inspiration to just go out, be more adventurous and shoot more!
True happiness comes from shooting more, making more art, and exploring more!