I’ve been in a slightly funny creative space lately. I’ve been trying to get out to shoot for myself, just for fun. But nothing happens, even on a recent field trip with Dunedin Photographic Society. Usually I can see something of interest, or my subconscious will compel me to shoot and figure it out later but recently, nada. No compulsion to capture anything. Sometimes the river of inspiration runs dry. The important thing is not to worry about it and trust that it’ll flood again for sure.
Work is another thing altogether. Give me a mission, a story to tell and I feel a sense of purpose, confident of a result. Last week I did some shots for Burns House, formerly Holy Cross College the Catholic Seminary in Mosgiel. They’re making the transition into more of a secular meeting and accommodation centre so they asked me out to shoot some of the spaces. The former seminary students cells were a little challenging to make something of, but the chapel really sang to me. It’s a fantastic setting for portrait type work and when the time is right it supplies some wondrous sunbeams. Check out the natural spotlight on the crucifix below.
At the time the place was being used for a meeting of the New Zealand Machine Knitters society, who kindly agreed to be photographed filling the meeting rooms, in exchange for an impromptu group shot. Who knew machine knitting was a Papal favourite? I have it on good authority that his Holiness is trying to trade his KR260 Ribber for a Toyota Elena 747. I never knew machine knitting was such a serious business and was a bit worried about getting bright smiles for the super-quickie unlit group photo, but my secret group warmup gag seemed to do the trick. You really do have to stand up and take control of groups like this if you want a result.
In the weekend, it was truck time. Plenty of challenges involved in making a suitable hero shot for a local transport firm – location, weather and traffic being less than ideal, but we had a reasonably clear vision and with a little help from Photoshop, came up with a few credible frames on a very nasty morning. Later I breakfasted with the truckies. The look on the waitresses face as we asked for 10 Southern Breakfasts and assorted coffees was priceless.
And so back to town, where I have a little job for a painting firm. The lads were applying a coating to the floor, so a couple of frames into it, I decided it was all about the gloss and used the reflected ambient light (augmented occasionally with some bounce flash) to tell that part of the story. I even managed to step out of my habit of filling every shadow in the large shot below, where I’d rather you pay attention to the glossy floor than the blokes working on it.
So as long as I have a mission I’m fine. As for inspiration from the blue and the joy of taking pictures just for pictures sake, that’s sure to return. I’m taking a little family vacation to Fiji at the end of the week. No work cameras along for the ride, just my point-and-shoot G16 and maybe a couple of GoPros to capture the fun. I’m sure I’ll come back either inspired or refreshed – and ready for the next assignment.