Buying my way out of a slump

drd1135

Zen Snapshooter
Jul 13, 2011
Lexington, VA
Steve
At the end of the Single In April, I found myself in a photography slump. For the first time I can think of. My thoughts are that several factors contributed. For one, I rearranged my whole kit with zooms to have the flexibility for starting in home portraits and head shots. With said kit also still being able to shoot my friends bands. Not long after the lock downs/shutdowns got started. Along with quarantines. So all of that was out. And still out for some time. I was doing some shooting around the house and of the family like normal. Then rolled into the SiA. By the end of that I was feeling bored. Zooms are great lenses, and serious workhorse tools. But something just wasn't clicking and I have barely touched a camera.

Ultimately I have decided to sell off most of my kit and have a kind of do over. One of the fun ways out of a rut is gear whoring, right? Everything but one X-T2 is going or gone. I have a X-E3 coming from Steve. And will pick up a 23mm f2 from my dad. I will just shoot with that for a bit and go from there.

I would love to hear what other people do to get out of a rut. Switching gear is the only thing I could think of.
Go through these pictures from The Decisive Moment:
I was going to suggest buying the book but it is no longer $80. HCB's style is wildly different than anything I do but I still found it inspired me to try different things.
 
Dec 31, 2013
Louisville, Ky
Go through these pictures from The Decisive Moment:
I was going to suggest buying the book but it is no longer $80. HCB's style is wildly different than anything I do but I still found it inspired me to try different things.
Very interesting work. I’ll definitely be looking at it more closely. To date, Walker Evans is the only old school photographer who’s work and philosophy I’ve ever clicked with. But I will be taking a closer look at Bresson’s.
 
Jul 24, 2013
Memphis, TN
Brent
I recently mentioned my neighbor's death. I shot an annual Rites of Spring for him for over 25 years, about 2,000 frames over a weekend. With the organizer gone it looks like the event is going belly up, sad, but it is more than most want to take on. I'll miss the gig and the people. I get the sense from your gig photos that you had an investment in the people and it's likely you miss everyone. Plus, even when things begin to crank up it will never be quite the same. Lots of losses right now. Playing with new gear is likely as good as any other way to cope; it's better than inappropriate ways of coping by a long stretch. I'm glad you're sober, not in jail, and have a marvelous family, a jeep, and a couple cameras. :biggrin:
 

agentlossing

Top Veteran
Very interesting work. I’ll definitely be looking at it more closely. To date, Walker Evans is the only old school photographer who’s work and philosophy I’ve ever clicked with. But I will be taking a closer look at Bresson’s.
I'm a really big fan of Bystander, the history of street photography, which includes a lot of the early work from photographers I wouldn't necessarily call street photographers, including Evans - really showing how the history of street is basically the history of photography itself, and how some of the earliest photographers felt the call to get outside and take the kinds of photos that would eventually be called street. It's a hefty, substantial book well worth the purchase price with a dense amount of smart text.
 

agentlossing

Top Veteran
By the way, the way out of ruts for me the past couple times has been to immerse myself in snapshots, and exploring just what snapshot photography can be. Taking photos for the sake of enjoyment and nothing else with no genre concerns in mind is tremendously freeing. Gear can help to a small extent, if what you do is find the gear that really speaks to a desire to get out and shoot lighthearted photos.
 
Dec 31, 2013
Louisville, Ky
I recently mentioned my neighbor's death. I shot an annual Rites of Spring for him for over 25 years, about 2,000 frames over a weekend. With the organizer gone it looks like the event is going belly up, sad, but it is more than most want to take on. I'll miss the gig and the people. I get the sense from your gig photos that you had an investment in the people and it's likely you miss everyone. Plus, even when things begin to crank up it will never be quite the same. Lots of losses right now. Playing with new gear is likely as good as any other way to cope; it's better than inappropriate ways of coping by a long stretch. I'm glad you're sober, not in jail, and have a marvelous family, a jeep, and a couple cameras. :biggrin:
Much appreciated. Although not addicted to anything may be more accurate, I've had a weekend evening or three less than sober :biggrin:

You may also have seen the bands who's members I am close friends with messing back and forth with each other on Instagram. You are spot on about the investment in people and missing them. It makes things even harder. Your assessment is spot on, and I see that you feel the sentiment from your own experience.
 
...no genre concerns in mind is tremendously freeing.
I refuse to care about genre, it's someone else's problem, not mine. "But Ad, that's not a street photograph, there are no people in it!", said a fellow member of my photoclub. Me: "I'm not interested in definition discussions." Sean Tucker's video puts this to words much better than I can.
 
Dec 31, 2013
Louisville, Ky
I'm a really big fan of Bystander, the history of street photography, which includes a lot of the early work from photographers I wouldn't necessarily call street photographers, including Evans - really showing how the history of street is basically the history of photography itself, and how some of the earliest photographers felt the call to get outside and take the kinds of photos that would eventually be called street. It's a hefty, substantial book well worth the purchase price with a dense amount of smart text.
I agree about Evans. To me, he was a great documentary photographer more than a street photographer. I guess there are many people who blur the lines between street and documentary.

By the way, the way out of ruts for me the past couple times has been to immerse myself in snapshots, and exploring just what snapshot photography can be. Taking photos for the sake of enjoyment and nothing else with no genre concerns in mind is tremendously freeing. Gear can help to a small extent, if what you do is find the gear that really speaks to a desire to get out and shoot lighthearted photos.
This is exactly what I am looking to do to get back to the roots and fun of it. The gear change here comes into play as I found shooting those types of shots with a zoom to be boring. And uninspiring. Also a X-T2 with a 16-55, even without the battery grip, is bulky and awkward for that kind of shooting. The X-E3 with a 23mm f2 will be much more easy, and fun, to work with. Using the rear lcd as much as the viewfinder for the shots.

Also, getting back into cemetery exploring, and maybe urbex. As I really enjoyed those.
 

agentlossing

Top Veteran
I refuse to care about genre, it's someone else's problem, not mine. "But Ad, that's not a street photograph, there are no people in it!", said a fellow member of my photoclub. Me: "I'm not interested in definition discussions." Sean Tucker's video puts this to words much better than I can.
Yes, that Sean Tucker video is gold, I watched it a couple days ago and it took the words right out of my mouth. I've been trying to formulate my thoughts into a small book of sorts, and stuff like this from other, much more articulate photographers makes me simultaneously feel vindicated and discouraged by my own small effort.
 

mnhoj

gee aahrr
Jan 27, 2012
Los Angeles
John
By the way, the way out of ruts for me the past couple times has been to immerse myself in snapshots, and exploring just what snapshot photography can be. Taking photos for the sake of enjoyment and nothing else with no genre concerns in mind is tremendously freeing. Gear can help to a small extent, if what you do is find the gear that really speaks to a desire to get out and shoot lighthearted photos.
I stopped by the Sprocket Docket.
I like your writing Andrew.
You have a nice smooth flow to it.
 

drd1135

Zen Snapshooter
Jul 13, 2011
Lexington, VA
Steve
Very interesting work. I’ll definitely be looking at it more closely. To date, Walker Evans is the only old school photographer who’s work and philosophy I’ve ever clicked with. But I will be taking a closer look at Bresson’s.
What’s really interesting to me is that many of our current concerns, e.g., sharpness, resolution, DR, etc., clearly meant very little to HCB. It was the subject matter and the composition.
 
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tonyturley

Hall of Famer
Nov 24, 2014
Scott Depot, WV, USA
Tony
What’s really interesting to me is that many of our current concerns, e.g., sharpness, resolution, DR, etc., clearly meant very little to HCB. It was the subject matter and the composition.
It seems many amateurs are obsessed with corner sharpness, barrel distortion, MTF charts, noise, DR, etc. Some of the flame wars I've seen over such minutia leave me scratching my head.
 

donlaw

Hall of Famer
Sep 14, 2012
Texas
Don
I have used selling and buying gear many times to pull my interest in photography back into focus (pun intended).
And I have been down the zoom vs prime road too. While mixing up gear is fun and can spur creativity, it isn’t really what keeps me taking photos everyday.
For me, I need a project that keeps my interest. That has taken a variety of forms over the years. PAW (picture a week) or PAD (picture a day) has worked well when applied to a particular subject. I documented my children’s growth doing a PAW project of each of them for many years. These were turned into blurb books for each.
The single in challenges here have been fun projects.
In the past five years I travelled a lot for work and many of my personal photo projects have been a related to exploring new places while visiting for work.
Now with the quarantine, I haven’t traveled since February. So I have started exploring the area around here on my bicycle with camera in tow. I liked the participation on this forum in the SiA challenge. And now I am doing the PAD in May. I am not sure, but it is beginning to feel like a project that documents the time of covid19 quarantine for me and family. I am suggesting, you try and not think about the gear. Instead, start a project and keep with it. Switch gear to keep the fun of trying something different, but do it with the end result being producing something you are happy with.
 

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