Never stop making new photos:
Why have you lost the motivation to make new photos?
It all comes down to philosophy (and physiology). I’ve discovered that a lot of people lose the motivation to make new photos because:
- Nihilism: I will never become famous, successful in photography, thus there is no reason to even attempt it.
- Experience: I’ve already shot everything and it’s boring now. There’s no more opportunities or things to photograph.
- Exhaustion: I’m so busy and tired from my work, job, and life, and I don’t have the time nor the energy to go out and shoot.
- Trapped within a genre: Because I only shoot “street photography” and because I don’t live in a city, I don’t have the opportunity to go out and make new photos because I live too far away.
- Carte Blanche mentality (blank slate): Forget all the photos you’ve made in the past. Imagine yourself a beginner again, and start off like a newbie. The “newbie mind” is the best mind, because we aren’t clouded by judgements, self censorship, and self criticism. To get inspiration, give your camera to a child and see how they make photos indiscriminately and with so much fun!
- The smallest and simplest camera possible: I’m very anti DSLR and anti big cameras. Small cameras are the best cameras. Just use your iPhone, android phone, or RICOH GR III. By embracing a small camera, you’ll always have it with you, and you can always shoot anything no matter the situation.
- Treat photography like visual experimentation: The goal isn’t to make good photos, but to simply see “what the world looks like photographed” (Garry Winogrand).
Photography as play
We should treat photography as a fun game! We don’t force ourselves to play video games or watch Netflix; why not think about photography the same?
Physiology and photography
A more physically fit person is better adapted for photography.
For example if we had a muscular person (with the physique of a sprinter or powerlifter), they would have more physical energy and power to walk around a lot and make a lot of photos.
If you had a 300 pound person with a high body fat percentage and poor metabolism, of course this person would be less motivated to walk around and make new photos.
So perhaps as a simple idea:
To get more motivated to make new photos and art, get more physically fit.
Deadlifts and squats at the gym. Standing desk at work. Lots of walking breaks. No sugar and carbs. Intermittent fasting and ketogenic diet.
Photograph in order to discover inspiration to photograph
Perhaps the best way to motivate yourself to make new photos is by going out and shooting whatever random thing, and as you photograph random stuff, you discover new things (actually interesting to you) which you want to photograph!
For example before I go out to photograph, I have no idea what to expect. And when I’m just out on the streets or in a public space (or anywhere outside my house), I discover all these new and interesting things to photograph!
Essentially before you go out to make photos, it is impossible to know what is going to be interesting to photograph! Thus the simple idea:
Just leave the house with your camera around your neck, and don’t “force” yourself to shoot anything. Only photograph what interests you!
Non-outcome based photography
The idea is you don’t go out and shoot photos to make good photos, the point is to just go out, have fun, and enjoy the photographic process and journey.
I know for myself the more I go out and walk and explore, the happier I am! Making “good” photos doesn’t bring me joy; going out and experiencing the world brings me joy!
Getting off Instagram
I deleted my Instagram almost 2 years ago, and ever since deleting it, I’ve rediscovered a new joy for photography. A new purpose in photography: beyond likes, followers, and pleasing others. More fun and joy of enjoying the photographic process and self-imposed and self-created/regulated game!
The point is to never stop making new photos
Perhaps the goal isn’t to make good photos but to discover the inspiration and motivation to make new photos indefinitely (until you die at age 120). To perpetually enjoy the game of photography, over and over and over again, without satiety or disgust.
How do we do this? Change our mind, approach and underlying philosophy behind photography, art, and life.
Never stop making new photos!