What to do when I've photographed everything interesting within an easy drive of my Carnoustie home? Photograph it again. I'm going through one of those stages just now where everything seems a little stale, everything is old and familiar and nothing seems to get the photographic juices flowing.
It's something that must affect all photographers at some stage - or maybe I'm alone in feeling this way? Are there some people out there who can find a never ending supply of subjects for their camera? I can't believe that's the case.
I think this barren period is one of the great drivers of gear acquisition syndrome (GAS). It's funny how a new camera or a change in format can give one the excuse to go and reshoot many of these tired motifs. To be honest, I'm beginning to feel the tug of something new but I'm trying to fight it.
It's not about the camera
Yes, it will give me a temporary boost and the chance to see how things I've seen over and over again look through a different piece of glass or on a different format. A cheaper method is to try a new film - a slow one if you usually like a faster emulsion or something with some more grain if Tmax 100 is normally your thing.
But, at the end of the day, it doesn't actually do anything for my photography. I know this from experience. It will cost me some money that I don't want to spend and then after, say, a few months, I'll be right back where I am now.
As we all know, it's nothing to do with gear and everything to do with a lack of inspiration. Or a lack of direction. Without something to work towards, photography can become just a process. A routine that we go through to pass away some free time. It's better than watching the soaps but it really should be about much, much more than that.
So how to make it so, as Jean Luc Picard might ask. Quite frankly, I don't know. If I had the answer I'd be lecturing at an art college somewhere. All I can do is to keep looking for fresh compositions within oft-visited locations, go out when the light is different to see what some newly-cast shadows can do for a scene or develop a new sensitivity to my environment.
That was my intention with these three pics. They may be familiar because I've published them - or similar - here before. These scenes are particular favourites and are within a ten mile drive of my home. On this occasion, I came back from a photographic jaunt lasting a couple of hours (including a coffee stop at McDonalds) with nice photographs but nothing that is wildly different from the images I've made in the past.
In terms of fulfilling my goal, they don't really do much. But in the process of taking these, I forced myself to get out and about with a camera when I was of a mind to stay home and that's better than nothing. When it comes to inspiration, perspiration is sometimes the answer. Or do readers have different ways of overcoming the photographic doldrums?