How I broke my dry spell

Every few years I experience a dry spell. I’m referring to photography, of course.

The first time it happens I was really concerned. I was coming out of a very prolific months of street photography and after being on the streets on a weekly basis, publishing pictures almost every day I hit a brick wall and for weeks, then months I wasn’t able to pull off a single image.

I was taking pics every now and then, but nothing exciting, just snapshots.

It lasted for three months and I don’t even remember what took me out of it. The same way I ended up not taking pictures, I started again enjoying it.

It happened maybe a second and third time over the years and six months ago, there I was again.

I had my last interesting images in August, when I visited Washington D.C. then I felt stuck. I traveled to exciting cities last fall, but not a single image came out. My trip to Toronto does not exist in my Flickr stream, for instance.

Right before the winter festivities I decided to pull myself out of the pit and I planned a three step process which worked perfectly.

Step 1: Stop

I stopped taking picture all at once. I usually have my camera in my bag all the time but for a couple of weeks I left it on a shelf. I decided not to have it with me just to see if I was missing it. And did not miss it at all. It was relieving.

At some point, after two or three weeks I felt it was time to pick the camera up again, and so I did.

Step 2: Define rules

I gave myself a set of rules, a sort of personal assignment. Here they are:

  • word primarily on series of three to five images
  • every series need to have consistent exposure, post processing, colour correction
  • images need to stand on their feet individually and as a group

Stop 3: Fake it until you make it

There are a few elements that are very hard for me: colour, multiple images, planning.
I have been taking single images all the time because street photography is about taking single shots at the right time, not about planning. I also processed all of my prominent work in BW and so far I have never been planning too much: I was going out and taking pics.

So it was a little awkward at the very beginning. The first few days it felt weird, then a little better every day since.

I’ll be working on my photography this way for a while, if you want to see the results just check out my photoblog and don’t be shy, drop a comment if you like!

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