Thoughts on Life, Art, Photography, Technology, Teaching and Travel…..

Breaking out of a Creative Rut


I must admit I’ve been in a creative funk for the past few months when it comes to my photography. Sure… I’ve worked on a few collaborative art projects, but for the most part I’ve not had the creative energy or desire to make new photographs or even revisit older work.  A big factor is that I’m teaching 9 online art and photography classes and by the time I get done with online teaching for the day I’m mentally drained.

I attended the Society for Photographic Education Regional Conference in Greenville, NC this past weekend and was given a huge jolt of inspiration to get back to making pictures. It was great being immersed and surrounded by so many creative and passionate artists and photographers.

Gray Art Gallery, ECU School of Art

Gray Art Gallery, ECU School of Art

I was very much inspired by the various speakers, excellent exhibitions and just talking with my colleagues about photography. It was also great seeing so many of my old SPE friends at this years event. It’s hard for me to believe I’ve been attending SPE conferences since 1985 – so this makes my 29th year being a part of the SPE Southeast family.

ECU Photo Alumni Exhibition Reception at Greenville Museum of Art

ECU Photo Alumni Exhibition Reception at Greenville Museum of Art

I came away from the conference with a head full of new ideas and  “fire in my belly” for making new photographs.  In fact, I stopped numerous times during the drive home from Greenville to take pictures in the late afternoon light.

The main thing I got from the conference was that making art is hard work and you just have to do it.  You can’t always wait for inspiration.

Tom Braswell - Gallery Director ECU School of Art

Tom Braswell – Gallery Director ECU School of Art

Something things one of the speakers Amy Friend said during her presentation really stuck with me.

 “What do you want to say with your pictures”?

“Photography is about self discovery – a threshold…a place to enter.”

“Fear is an integral part of the creative process.”

“You must live a photographic life”

“Pick subjects you are passionate about – work happens through work.”

So now its just a matter of setting some time aside from my online teaching and other demands to pick up my camera and take some photographs. Even if it is one hour per day.  Even if it is doing some post-productions on past work.

It really isn’t about being inspired. Its about doing what I do – being who I am and that is an artist and a photographer.



3 comments on “Breaking out of a Creative Rut

  1. Michael Ehringhaus
    October 14, 2014

    I think you have expressed what many of us have been, are, and will be feeling about our art.

    I was very sick this past summer, spent a while in the hospital, so didn’t pick up my camera or think about photography for several months. I just couldn’t wrap my mind around it. I couldn’t find any inspiration.

    Happily, I’m finally beginning to photograph. Amy Friend said, “You must live a photographic life. Pick subjects you are passionate about – work happens through work.” That’s exactly what makes sense to me and is helping me get back into living a photographic life.

    We do it by doing it.

    Thanks for this post, Patrick.


  2. Patrick Keough
    October 18, 2014

    Yes Michael it is so easy to get discouraged when it comes to our photography and other creative endeavors. We are hard wired to make art – make photographs and just do creative things and sometimes we just hit the wall and struggle finding the time, desire or inspiration to go out and do what we do. Make pictures, paint, write…whatever. I am trying to keep all this in perspective and just force myself to set aside time for my work and not get overwhelmed by the other demands on my time and creative energy. Thanks for commenting! Patrick

  3. Fatima
    March 5, 2015

    Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist is the tale of Santiago, an Andalusian shepherd child material to roam via the Spanish industries and also communities with his faithful flcok until a reoccuring desire concerning discovering
    his treasure at the Pyramids of Egypt rousts him from complacency.
    In trying to understand his desire, Santiago encounters a smart old man who calls himself Melchizedek, the Master of Salem, who sets the kid off on a journey to discover
    his Individual Tale:

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: