More Visual Practice and developing a creative mantra

Sometimes framing what you’re about to do correctly, is the best way to start something creative. It’s quite difficult to get out of your head sometimes when you want to push out good work. Self-doubt almost always creeps in and can ruin your ability to create.

In my case, in photography, if I just grab the camera and go on a practice walk I tend to feel loose and free and have a much better outcome than if I go out looking for a particular perfect image. If I head out to make amazing images I tend to feel rigid and too distracted to see. I come home left with a feeling of remorse.

Last night I met up with Jordan and Jeff and we hit the streets of Syracuse for a bit of street practice. Before I got out of the truck I had that talk with myself about being loose and free and just exploring. I would take pictures of anything and everything. My pre shoot self-talk usually goes like this:

  1. Take lots of pictures, digital negatives are cheap.

  2. Shoot as soon as your toes hit the pavement to warm up.

  3. Walk and explore but most of all be open.

  4. Slow down.

  5. The truly great shots happen when you’re not thinking.

So the question is, how do you defeat self doubt? How do you start your creative work, and do it consistently?

Visual Practice

I got out to shoot last night with the x100t and had just about an hour to kill so I wandered around downtown with the camera looking for reflections. I had a ton of terrible shots but its refreshing to just practice.

Do you ever give yourself a task for practice? I would love to hear what you do to get in some practice during the day.

Zen in the Art of Archery - Recommended Reading

Henri Cartier-Bresson, one of the most talented and celebrated street photographers of all time, would recommend a book voraciously to anyone he met who was interested in becoming a better photographer. He shared it often at Magnum events, and felt it was one of the best books on the subject. The only problem? It wasn't about photography, at least not directly. It was about Kyudo, the Japanese art of archery and it has many striking similarities to the practice and refinement of the art of photography. Anyway I wanted to share this graphic I made as I tried to apply it to my practice. A very influential photographer recommended it to me, so I thought I would pass on the love. Such a good book!

Zen in the Art of Archery
by Eugen Herrigel

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