Let Your Passion Fuel Your Creativity July 20, 2015 – Posted in: Photography – Tags: , , , , ,

I thrive on distance running. It clears my head. For exactly one hour of the day I pound the pavement, alone with my thoughts. It’s during these minutes of solitude that I’m able to fuel my brainstorming and critical thinking processes. Whenever I need to add a little creativity or find a new approach to a specific idea or project, I hit the streets.

We all have our own ways of conjuring up creativity. For me, it’s logging miles. Others use meditation or journaling. These precious moments when we connect inwardly to ourselves, especially in a world so linked by technology, are critical to the discovery of our personal goals. This is especially true when it comes to photography.

In his last blog post, Gerhard Rossbach asked how we are going to return to the basics of the craft of photography: in a culture that has adopted an “always on” mentality, how can we learn to rely on our own thoughts and inspirations rather than following the latest trends, downloading the latest apps, and purchasing the newest equipment as quickly as it comes out?

Sometimes, the “tools” of the trade are trivial compared to the inspiration that led us down our chosen path in the first place. Here at Rocky Nook, we believe that providing you with the information you need to be a successful photographer is crucial. However, we also believe that you won’t be successful unless your photographic efforts are driven by your own passions and creativity. This is exactly the idea that Bruce Barnbaum illustrates in The Art of Photography: An Approach to Personal Expression. Barnbaum ignores the tried and true photographic “tips and tricks” and delves deeper into the craft, encouraging the reader to develop their own personal creative process by discovering the source of their photographic motivation and enthusiasm.

In this best-selling book (which is celebrating it’s five-year anniversary, by the way!), Barnbaum speaks to the heart and soul of the photographer, urging them to look at photography as an art form far more involved than simply picking up a camera and pressing the shutter button. He implores us to treat photography as a form of creative communication that conveys our passions to our audience.

This sounds great on paper, of course. But the question is: how do we create such purposeful messages with our photography? How do we decide what is the best subject/angle/lighting for a photograph? If you’re not going to jog until you find the answer (or hike the entire Appalachian trail in 46 days, like Scott Jurek), perhaps look to Barnbaum’s more accessible alternatives.

Barnbaum believes you’ll find your creativity by shooting the subjects you are most excited about. Start by identifying the photography projects you’ve felt the most passionate about. For some it could be photographing panoramic views from the peak of a Colorado fourteener; for others, it might be candidly capturing a varied collection of strangers against the backdrop of a city street. Bruce points out that what you shoot doesn’t matter. He believes that if your subject is something you are enthusiastic about, you’ll create highly impactful work.

So lace up those sneakers (so to speak), and start really thinking about what drives your creative enthusiasm. What really makes you feel something? Whatever it may be, there’s the answer: that’s your inspiration, so go out and photograph it. If you’re still feeling like you need a bit more motivation, I encourage you to shut off your devices (after you finish reading and sharing this post of course), and learn more from what Bruce has to say. Let his ideas motivate you to reflect on your personal approach to expression in order to discover ways to add newfound creativity to your photography.

Below are some of my personal favorite images from world-renowned photographer, Bruce Barnbaum. You can also read more about The Art of Photography here.

© Bruce Barnbaum


© Bruce Barnbaum

© Bruce Barnbaum

By Jessica Tiernan, Rocky Nook Marketing Assistant