There are periods in my life when I have so many ideas for photographs swirling around in my head that it’s overwhelming and I have to write them down as I simply don’t have enough time in the day to create all the images which have taken root in my mind, although less than a third ever get made!
Conversely, I also have long periods where my imagination is like a cavernous, dusty void full of nothing but tumble-weed and the first time this happened it scared me half to death. Where there used to be a smorgasbord of ideas falling over themselves to get noticed in my head there now hung a huge blank canvas I didn’t know how to fill, and while this is fine for a day or two, or even a week or two, when this stretched into two whole months panic set in. What if I never had another original idea for a picture ever again and my best work was already behind me?!
My creative photographs usually start with a concept, for example my singleton status, and ways in which to capture the essence of that in print tend to come effortlessly to mind. But during artistic droughts I don’t feel passionate about anything and my imagination is a barren desert, devoid of life. Instead of ideas appearing unbidden into my mind’s eye, my imagination is instead frantically seeking inspiration, grasping at straws and scrabbling around in the dust and dirt. It’s terrifying and at the time it feels as if it will never end.
However, this has happened enough times now for me to know that it’s usually because I’m just exhausted or too distracted by ‘real life’ events , and eventually my head will clear enough to allow my creative voice to speak. The secret, for me at any rate, is not to stress about it because the more I stress the less creative I become.
Resting, I’ve discovered, is my friend. I can lie in a warm bath and just let my mind wander. Or instead of avidly watching the news I turn off the telly, close my eyes and allow my cluttered brain to empty. Daydreaming is great for the imagination and if I relax into the void in time the ideas will flow again. Hopefully. Fingers crossed (I’m still terrified, can you tell 😄?!).