The Limits of Inspiration

The Limits of Inspiration

I recently hit another barrier or block and this time, I realized it was because of something that I least expected.

I was intaking too much inspiration.

Let me explain what I mean by this.

As a photographer, I’m always looking to find inspiration through the work of others. I love discovering photographers on Instagram or other social media outlets. Usually when I come across someone I really like, I start following them and I start studying their work. Sometimes it almost becomes obsessive because I try to find anything and everything on how they approach their work, what kind of gear they are using, how are they reflecting on their work, what projects their working on, etc. I’ll try to dig it all up!

I was following this photographer I found who has some incredible work. What he was communicating through his photographs and how he put together series of images was really something to look at.

But what I discovered after a full dive into his work, I realized that I was actually inhibiting myself from creating work of my own. I was trying to vicariously live through the work of another artist and coveted photographs that I couldn’t even produce myself. That photographer has a completely different life than mine and his context looks vastly different.

So this is what I mean about the “limits of inspiration”. There’s a point where we have taken something too far, where we have deterred from something true of ourselves and begin trying to imitate rather than do the necessary work of creating ourselves.

Inspiration can then become a crutch to our own creative process.

I’m trying to think of ways to protect myself from this. How do I find the balance of not getting lost in someone’s else work that I lose my own vision but yet appreciate and allow other artists to influence my work?

I think one thing I can do is create time in my week to set down social media or whatever that’s pulling me in too much and make some space just to create whatever. I put too many stipulations on what I need to create or what I should create. I’m trying to find more freedom in just creating and being inspired by my immediate context.

And I’m trying to not take this process so seriously.

We’ll see what happens!

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