Home > photography > Clutter as Inspiration: Same as it Ever Was

Clutter as Inspiration: Same as it Ever Was

DSC_0501-1Baby steps, baby.

This might be my version of the post-holiday blues. With all those three-day weekends, I had the time to develop my interests. My personal schedule tends to be relaxed and spread out, so the extra day makes a huge difference.

Now, I’m back to where I was before: I can’t depend on the weekends, I have to fit things in more around work. I was working on this in particular just before the holidays. I don’t do so well at fitting tasks around other tasks, bits and pieces at a time. It isn’t that I can’t, I just don’t have the same motivation.

It’s like when I bought my camera. That was a necessary splurge. I may not love work, but I can afford to do things that I enjoy. Of course, that’s only step 1.

Step 2 is paying in time. Money only gets you started. Photography (or any interest, really) requires taking time to learn the skill, to learn and enjoy. That’s the tricky part, really.

My camera sits more than it should.

Personally, I have to start small. When under pressure, I’m inclined to retreat, to cut away and simplify to an excess.

Except that I took a lot more pictures than normal over the holidays. And not holiday family photos or anything, just photos in general. Like I said, three day weekends.

It’s a common recommendation not to take photos of things on your desk.

Yes, that’s right, baby steps. Keeping beautiful items around, even as clutter, may help inspire you. (Just don’t shoot photos of your cd spindle. Or your computer wiring. I know, I know, but no one else is interested. Trust me.)

Actually, those can be good subjects for the sake of learning your camera. Learning your fstops, testing white balance, things like that. But it’s technical practice, not anything interesting. And it gets you shooting, which may get you to move onto an interesting subject.

Having these items out makes all the difference. Open the window and let in the sunlight, break out the tripod, and go. You don’t have to think about it. You don’t have to take the time or effort to remember to pull something out that is sitting inside a drawer or cabinet.

Just have at it. Your clutter “lives” in a place; it is part of your space. You constantly observe it. You know your clutter intimately, even if you don’t realize it. As soon as you focus on it, hey, it’s there; you don’t have to think, you do what you do naturally.

DSC_0471-1 It may not get me out and shooting yet, but it’s a start. See both photos for reference. Jebus Bob I love my macro lens. The photos in this post, and the photo in the last post, are the result of this process. I could only get one mug; it was a random part of a set that was on clearance. It was still entirely worth it.

So you see:

Create an environment conducive to your interests.  

Then you don’t have to worry about what you should be doing. You just do.

Categories: photography
  1. February 5, 2010 at 5:51 pm

    Love the line, “you know your clutter intimately.” I know several people who keep clutter around as a comfort, and it really does inspire them. Finding inspiration in the everyday is essential to a creative life. Thanks for posting!

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