The Inner Path of Photography

We yearn for the taste of the sacred…and through our cameras discover it, the world, and ourselves.

Tag: workshops

Are You Feeding Your Inspiration?

“Self-Portrait: Artist at Play“, Heidi Straube, © 2011


“It’s marvelous, marvelous! Nothing will ever be as much fun.
I’m going to photograph everything, everything!”

(Jacques-Henri Lartigue –  after taking his first photograph, age six)

 

Yesterday I participated in a street painting workshop.
It was wonderful.

Three hours on a Saturday morning on a beautiful day in Houston. Eighty degrees, clear blue skies, coffee and kolaches.  Laughing and creating with my friend, enjoying being in the space of other people who were creating too, learning something new.

Later in the afternoon, I showed a picture of my “painting” to another friend.
He laughed, saying “It looks just like a kid’s picture!”

And I laughed too.  “I know, isn’t it great?”

I felt like a kid. I had had no idea what I was doing, enjoyed the process, didn’t judge the outcome…and it was totally freeing.

If you are doing the same thing every day (whether in your creative work or your life) and wondering what happened to your inspiration, try something new. Change up the routine, even if it’s going to a different place for coffee before work, listening to a new radio station on the internet, or wearing a color you don’t usually wear.

If you are feeling blocked, in the dead zone, without creative ideas or enthusiasm for life, claim and deepen your inner silence. Then also look to outside sources to nourish your soul.

We often live our lives in the same way, with the same people, and no new perspectives, support, or learning. And then we expect “inspiration” to come when we call.

Perhaps inspiration is right not to show up on command. If you were ignored, fed little, and expected to be there no matter what, would you keep on showing up?

There are many ways to feed your inspiration, and actually, what nurtures you may be totally different from someone else.

This week I realized that I needed a new inspiration “shot,” and it wasn’t going to come from my usual friends and colleagues sources. It was time to call on my outer spirit guides!

Curiosity, hunger for learning, and comradeship with kindred spirits are some of the things that feed my inspiration. So I (among other things):

* Watched a fantastic DVD, “Inspirations” by Michael Apted – Interviews with creative people talking about their creative process, work, and lives

* Looked at and read “Seasons of Light” by photographer Peter Brown, a wonderful book of images and writing

* Went to a talk at the Museum of Fine Arts Houston about Istanbul in the 16th century, learning more about Islamic art and how the miniatures reflected the culture, remembering the special time I had in Istanbul last spring, and meeting some new like-minded travelers and art lovers.

* Discovered a new photography show at the MFAH I had been unaware of, images from Heinrich Kuhn, filled with my favorite kind of photography.

* Dropped by to see some friends renovating a building, appreciating their vision and skills in creating beauty and function in a physical architectural form.

Swimming, a great cafe, and people I love enhanced the experience.

What nurtures your inspiration? What have you been neglecting?

Be good to yourself and let other sources feed you. Whether they’re new sources or old sources, make sure they are deliberate sources that you know make you alive.

Walk away from the usual, if even for an hour.

Feed and nurture your inspiration.


(“Heidi, first street painting,” Cameron Payne, © 2011)

Street Painting Workshop, taught by Cecilia Linayao Bio, sponsored by Via Colori, funded by Center for Speech and Hearing, Houston.

 

What Happened? Follow up to “Photographer’s Anxiety: Making Choices”

I realized this morning that I posted some of the photographs that I finally printed after my anxiety jag (see postings on August 18), but didn’t share how I actually got to those images.

Curious? Have been in the same situation yourself? Here’s a short recap, to the best of my recollection:

I did go make myself lunch. Food is always good for me, it’s grounding, makes me take a break, away from my brain. Also I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gotten anxious, depressed, tired, etc. and then after spending far too much time psycho-analyzing myself and trying to figure out why I’m feeling bad (what am I supposed to learn from this? what am I blocking? what is this issue? etc etc)….I realize that I haven’t eaten and 90% of the mental distress is because I haven’t eaten and my body’s out of balance. Hungry body = Heidi’s wacko brain, emotions out of balance.

I’m not suggesting food as the answer to all inner angst, of course…but sometimes the basics (healthy food, sleep, exercise, and yes…sex!) go a long way as a first line of healing.

OK, so I’m well fed and happier.

Went back to the computer to browse the images again. Decided that I wanted to print images from my Martha’s Vineyard trip, because I haven’t spent much time with them, it’s been almost 2 months now, I already started a blog that I posted very little to,  and people keep asking me where my MV pictures are.

Plus some “icing on the cake” motivation is that I’d like to do some work in Martha’s Vineyard this fall or next spring/summer, things like retreats, workshops, Inner Path of Photography classes…and it would be nice to have something simple and visual to jazz up my project proposals and use in marketing.

Great, a decision has been made! Martha’s Vineyard it is.

But which images? I was there for 7 days, and have a folder for each day with about 100 images each. Here we go again.

So what did I do? I went with the energy, with my curiosity, with what turns me on.

As I browsed through the images, I realized that there were some that I thought I “should” print…because the woman I rented my cottage from would like to have those that I took of her place, because people who’ve never been to the Cape and Islands have never seen the type of houses/architecture that is there and I could show them that…on and on…all of the reasons to do what will make other people happy.

Yes, I would still like to do that. But as I mentioned before, I want to do fine art prints, and the images above felt like snapshots…I could print those out on my little HP printer in minutes, or throw them up onto a Google website, and people would be happy.

Some could eventually be printed as fine art prints…but they weren’t where my energy was drawn to, so I passed.

I’ve been very intrigued with beach photos in the past year, especially taking them at the end of the day in near darkness, or on rainy or foggy days. Remembered that I had some nice foggy shots, so went searching for them.

And finally found ones that felt good to look at, remember the experience, and want to express the magic, charm, joy, mysticism in them.

I’ve posted some of the results. Some rolled easily off the printer; others took more work at printing skills that I am learning.

I’ll post more as I work through them…

But the point I want to share here is that my decision making became clearer, and my anxiety decreased when I got in alignment with what personally gave me energy. Not what would give others energy, what I “should” print, or what was technically the best, most impressive image.

I followed my curiosity and willingness to be different. I printed what made me feel expansive. I allowed myself to re-engage with the feelings I had when I was shooting, and to celebrate the whole experience through feeling, printing, completing.

I also threw away my need for each image to be the ultimate shot. There were  some images that I wasn’t sure I liked, that felt potentially “boring,” but that were still calling to me. I played with them anyway, realizing the gift of my photo group that evening: What better place to take images I was unsure of and see what others made of them? I basked in the enjoyment of printing what I loved, and in the richness of anticipating the group support and creative exchange.

So that’s my story. More angst and anxiety to come, I’m sure…but getting back in the flow was great…and I’m still riding the wave 🙂

P.S. Photo group was great…lots of discussion, interesting work by all, great camaraderie, pizza, and wine!

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