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What do you do when it stops being fun?
#1
For the past several months, I've been in a slump, and nothing has caught my eye or lit my imagination the way it used to. I've known this for a while, but it was driven home just now when I was looking through my website archive from september of last year. I used to have a knack for this photography thing, but now it's gone.

I'm not about to hang up any of my cameras. I do have some idea of where my excitement went, and how to start getting it back. What I want to know, though, is what do you do when photography -- or anything that you used to love -- stops being fun?
matthewpiers.com • @matthewpiers | robertsonphoto.blogspot.com | @thewsreviews • thewsreviews.com
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#2
Matt:

I have been in several creative slumps with photography over the years - and I know exactly where you are coming from. I always came back eventually, but I have often taken hiatuses of a month or 3. If its not fun - its not worth doing, and you don't want to permanently damage your appreciation by equating taking pictures with tedium.

Often something jogs me back into play. I take a trip somewhere that inspires me. I meet new people who's work inspires me. I catch a break - I was in a slump when I got my first photo exhibition and I had to work so hard on it, that I was inspired before I knew it.

Just my $.02
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#3
Matt - go away and do something else you enjoy for a while, eventually your interest will be piqued again by seeing something you think worthwhile shooting.

I have been running a Genealogy website for some years and for the past few months have been bored with it, taking pictures for the website spurred my interest in photography and I have been trying to improve in that area for the last few months, well I hope I have improved Tongue
Cheers,
Pat
Canon 400D plus assorted lenses
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#4
This is something I think everyone goes through. The equivalent of writers block? There are times when we have more important things in our lives and lack the motivation to be creative.

Don't be afraid to put it down for a while - just dont sell off all your gear! I'm sure sooner rather than later you will see or find something or someone to inspire you again.
Canon 50D.
Redbubble
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#5
Hey matthew, I think we can all identify... I think I'm going through one myself at the moment.

I still enjoy looking at other people's photos though so that's still cool.

At the moment I'm tinkering around with linux and ruby on rails... once I get tired of that I'm sure photography will be #1 again. Big Grin
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#6
Thanks for the responses. I appreciate the concern, but I know it's a temporary thing and will pass. I'm already starting to get a bit of the bug back, and starting this thread is part of that. I'm hoping that other people can share their experiences more as a source of future ideas, inspiration, and support for when others need it.

Partly, my lack of interest and creativity is a result of a lack of time, energy, and passion: it's all been needed elsewhere. My summer has been somewhat trying. Also, it's a lack of subject matter; after three years of working, and photographing, in the same part of town, I'm getting stale. But, knowing this, it gives me the ability to change it.

So, I've not worried about my not taking photographs. I've not cared about my blog going from 2400 page views per month to 1400. I've been paying attention to the things that matter, and letting the rest slide. I've waited, and with my life settling down, I now have the time and energy to look for something new.

All of the suggestions here are good, and I've been employing most of them, including the new hobby. The new one is also starting to feed back into the photography groove, and get me back on track.

One way that I have to rekindle interest is to spend money. It's a bad habit, but new toys are always more fun. I semi-impulsively bought a wide-angle lens, which is a type of photography I've never done. So, I've been having some sessions experimenting with it. (I say semi-impulsively because I can use it, but don't really need it, for an upcoming seres of jobs that might eventually pay for the lens.) I'm also starting a pair of photography classes soon, and bought myself a nice portfolio to put my prints (inkjet, not film) into. Now I'm looking for some good images to put into it. And, in the opposite direction, I started a new project on-line that lets me play with "fun" shots without regard for quality.

So, I'm getting back, and that's how I'm working on it.

My plan for tomorrow: walk down some nasty graffiti-covered back alleys that I've been down dozens of times. With my new lens. I'm actually excited about it.
matthewpiers.com • @matthewpiers | robertsonphoto.blogspot.com | @thewsreviews • thewsreviews.com
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#7
That little bit of boredom passed quickly Big Grin
Cheers,
Pat
Canon 400D plus assorted lenses
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#8
Interesting article here: How to survive creative burnout...
http://www.scottberkun.com/essays/essay33.htm

although it is probably omre applicable to when the creative is more like work rather than a hobby, but interesting to read nonetheless.
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#9
Ah - wide angle work, my favourite. Lots to enjoy with the new lens and all the best with the upcoming job.
Canon stuff.
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#10
Hang in there Matthew,

It will pass , I havent had this problem with photography yet , but i know it will happen. Ive had the problem with a few other things that mean a lot to me and they have passed .

Hold your head up , and dont " force " it to come back. Once it does youll be showing everyone what great work you can do .

........ Shawn
Canon 20d and a few cheap lenses ..

It is our job as photographers to show people what they saw but didnt realize they saw it ......
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#11
How about taking up paper cutting?
http://www.oncotton.co.uk/peter/index/A4...UT_000.htm

Simply amazing... Big Grin
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#12
When I'm in a slump, I look for another type of photography that I haven't tried yet.
Like the 3D/Stereo stuff I started playing with this summer, or the product photography that I decided to try and get better at this week. The research and learning are a way to bring back the 'spark' that was so enjoyable when all of photography was new.

For me, sending my camera away for repairs plus months of relentless heat and hazy skies have slowed my output to 25% of what it normally is.
But just like Matthew I'm sure things will get better.

I also understand the boredom of being in the same place for years.
Even when the weather is perfect, the car is full of gas, and I have all day free to take pictures, I'm often paralyzed by not having any idea where to find something to shoot that I haven't already done.

Buying new equipment is another way to get the creative urge to wake up, or so I have heard.
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#13
Going shooting with someone else always helps me work through "photog's cramp", usually with another friend who's into photography, who I don't get to see often enough. A quick phone call on the weekend, "Hey, let's go shooting!"... another set of eyes is always good to help you notice things you may have been overlooking, or to see something from a different perspective.
"I used to think it was awful that life was so unfair. Then I thought, wouldn't it be much worse if life were fair and all the terrible things that happen to us come because we actually deserve them. So now I take great comfort in the general hostility and unfairness of the universe."
-Marcus Cole
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#14
I know what you mean about being in the same place for a long time and it just does not seem to inspire you any more after a while. I liked Toronto a lot and am sure I would find plenty to shoot there, and I love some of your pics like the pawn shop, that remind me of Toronto. While we were in Germany this summer I was very unhappy, unhappy about being in Germany, unhappy about my private life, unhappy with the place we were staying. And in that mood I just could not coax myself into shooting ANYTHING. And when you're exhausted from other things going on in life, it's just hard to find the peace you need to be creative. So I think taking a break is one of the best suggestions in this thread, go some exciting place and let yourself be inspired. And find the rest to open your eyes and open your mind to photography again.
After our move to China a friend looking at my pictures said I seemed to be "on fire", and after 6 weeks I still enjoy venturing to hidden corners in this place and take pictures. And through photography I even get to know a lot of people here, so there is some extra joy in going out and shooting.
BTW, I found classes can (don't have to) be more than a brake to creativity than a spur, but obviously that depends on your class. Maybe you should try to set yourself a specific goal for these courses (like: learn to compose in a wide angle with my new lens), so you don't drown in new information and challenges and you can easily check your progress.

You have it in you, you'll get over it!

Uli
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#15
There are some great suggestions here. Great suggestion on the classes. Uli. That would get the mojo going I would think. As suggested taking a trip seemed to work for me. I was in a photographic funk and couldn't find myself to contribute to the forum.It must have been months. I found my recent trip to Mexico helped a lot. I now have 498 images to go through not counting my wife's 200. I must admit though, there were days I just didn't want to travel around in 32-34c heat with camera gear.
Sit, stay, ok, hold it! Awww, no drooling! :O
My flickr images
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