When it comes to street photography, it can often be very difficult to stay motivated and keep shooting on the streets. I told my problem to my younger sister, who recently got me a wonderful book titled “Spark: How Creativity Works” which illustrates the creative lives of influential artists ranging from novelists to musicians. One of the quotes that the author decided to include of Chuck Close inspired me in which he says that inspiration is for amateurs, and true greatness comes from the ability to stay consistent and be tenacious.
“Inspiration is for amateurs. The rest of us just show up and get to work and the belief that things will grow out of the activity itself and that you will, through work, bump into other possibilities and kick open other doors that you would never dream up if you were just sitting around looking for a great art idea. And that a belief in that the process, in a sense, is liberating and that you don’t have to reinvent the wheel everyday. Today you know what you will do, you could be doing what you were doing yesterday and tomorrow you are going to do what you did today and at least for a certain period of time if you can just work to hang in there, you will get somewhere.” – Chuck Close
This quote to me is fascinating to me for several reasons. First of all, Close describes that “inspiration is for amateurs” — which goes against the typical wisdom that we must always be inspired to create artistically beautiful things. However he continues to state that it is through the artistic process in which we create amazing works.
Therefore when it comes to street photography, there are days in which we aren’t going to feel inspired or feel like going out and shooting. It happens to everyone, including myself. However the way that I am able to battle the lethargy of getting out is to remind myself to stay consistent and just do it. It is almost like sticking to a workout regimen. If we wish to lose weight we have go workout everyday without fail (which keeps the ball rolling). The moment we start making excuses and break our routine is when we quit working out and become fat and lazy.
There have been many times in which I went out feeling uninspired and taking photos almost felt like a chore. However once I break the ice and start taking photos, I feel my creative juices starting to flow again, and feel my eyes open up to the world around me. Yo-Yo Ma describes a similar process in “Spark: How Creativity Works” in which he always warms up in the morning before playing his cello: “I become friends with the instrument… I try not to tax it too much. It’s really like warming up a car, or warming up your body. You stretch it. You don’t go into a fast run. You don’t take it to sixty in three seconds.” Therefore treat your camera the same. Start off slow by snapping a few shutters to get warmed up and then the rest will flow.
How do you stay inspired when you don’t feel like going out to shoot? Tell us your inspirational tips below!
- You can also watch a video-interview of Chuck-Close here, which is thoroughly fascinating.