Where does my creativity come from? A question I've been asking myself quite a bit recently. I'm not talking about the biology of it, although it interests me. No, this is about a creative malaise I've gone through. It's not universal - I find my writing is just fine. My photography though is plagued with self-doubt, and with it a loss of purpose.
When I started taking photos, as a serious interest, I never attached much sense of creativity to it. It was something I did to express myself for sure, but I wasn't thinking about the creative potential at the time. Nowadays, I think more about creative process, not just in my artistic background, but in my professional work as well. Over the past few years I've managed to balance creative outlets successfully, but for some reason my photography has suffered.
It kind of started last year. At the time I was feeling hampered in my photography, lacking simplicity and subtlety. Sure, I could still take good photos (at least by my reckoning), but they never quite lived up to the past. Everything was so basic, and I was taking dozens of shots to take one average one. My early photos were often inept and prosaic, but all of them were efforts at artistic representation. There was energy behind them. Then it all fell away.
At the time, I thought about going in a new direction. Taking dozens of photos at a time to get a shot seemed increasingly excessive, and I thought a sign of a lack of originality. In some ways it still does, but I'm more disciplined now. Back then, I thought the solution was simple, by taking an option that wouldn't give me many opportunities for repeated shots - film camera. It was all a placebo.
Looking at my film shots I realised that my malaise hadn't shifted, and I had to reconsider my choices. I was busy writing, and getting results, so photography moved to the side. An easy distraction. Now I'm here, 12 months on, and still have this void in my photography. The quality's improved - that's something - but I've realised that the problem is considering what to do with my photography.
I think about outlets like exhibitions, competitions, and magazines, even this website portfolio. Yeah, they're a way of showcasing, but ultimately what's the draw for me? It's a new gap in my photography. What do I actually want to do with my photos? These options leave me cold. Is it enough to be creative just for creativity's sake? If I don't share, who gets to know? If they just sit there and no looks, isn't that just as bad?
I can imagine things like exhibitions, widening my portfolio, working on actual projects, but is this going to satisfy me? What is my endgame? I need to work this out in my mind, find some idea of what would satisfy me with my work, my creative outlet. I enjoying sinking back into photographic activity again. I doubt I'll ever have that adolescent like innocent passion again (did I just compare my photography to sex...I think I did), but that doesn't mean I can't recapture the spirit. This isn't about creative ability, it's about creative energy. What motivates, and what pushes me forward? That's what I've got to work out.