#494. Fighting Photographic Uninspiration? Go Abstract and Multiply!

By pascaljappy | How-To

Jul 05

We’ve all been there.

  • Stuck back home when pals are exploring.
  • On a low in between reviews or trips.
  • Simply out of realistic ideas for the next project.
  • Wha’ever …

Just feeling uninspired and blue, like the world is being so mean to you and so fun to others.

DSC03845-2Feels familiar ? Go abstract on the whole situation.

Switch off good sense and good photographic manners.

The flowers in the garden and the clouds in the sky have bored the pants off you? Treat’em rough! Like they’re just blobs of light and shapes to be assembled in your self-centered compositions. Go wild on filters, go wild on vignetting. It doesn’t matter. It doesn’t have to be your best work.

Just break out of the gloom and start seeing the world with creative eyes again. If Weston could make a career with peppers, what’s wrong with flowers ?


All that matters is that you shake off that pessimistic feeling that nothing is happening in your artistic world. Get back in control. Take the lead, find a new rhythm.

Your first photographs will just be a new take on the cat’s whiskers …

DSC03819 DSC03818

…dirty cutlery …


… or a painting on the wall.

DSC03842 DSC03841

When creative fluids are once again irrigating the dried-up regions of your unhappy-lizard cortex, find yourself a subject that can sustain a small project approach. This is the hard part but, by now, you have no excuses because the pump has been primed and you owe it to yourself to put the newfound creative drive to good use.

Any object is good, so long as it offers enough angles for a small series of pictures. In my case, here is a series of macro-level details from a Soleri bell fin. Those bells are gorgeous. We explored the Cosanti and Arcosanti studios during our visit to Arizona last summer and the bell is one of our treasured souvenirs of that extraordinary region of the world.

All the photographs below are made with a Sony A7rII, a Zeiss 85mm lens and a 20mm extension ring. Proof that it doesn’t take a space shuttle to fly over Mars, Titan or Io 🙂 Proof that a Vulcan Air P68 isn’t needed for aerial photography of open-air mines and salt-pans 🙂 Or that, unlike Andy Warhol, I didn’t have to get my friends to piddle on canvas to create art (although it’s unlikely anyone will pay me almost 2 millions for a print 😉 )!

DSC03838 DSC03837 DSC03836 DSC03835 DSC03834 DSC03833 DSC03829 DSC03828 DSC03827-2Creativity is a muscle. It takes as much will power and pain to foster a creative mindset than to turn that flabby belly into a sexy six-pack (not that I would know about that … 😉 ) And a low period might just be the best time to get started on the training process. You’re not involved in a trip or project that focuses your vision in a particular direction. You’re receptive and eager to get out of the rut. So get going and go abstract on the world. Have fun and let me know what works best for you !


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  • Eolake Stobblehouse says:

    An inspiring article, thanks Pascal.

    Good pics too. Might look nice in big prints.

    I would experiment with heightening the contrast. Though I’d not be sure it would improve them.

    • pascaljappy says:

      Thanks Eolake. I’ll definitely work on the photographs a bit more. These were made, processed and posted in an hour or so 😉 All the best, Pascal

  • Eolake Stobblehouse says:

    OK, here you can see how inspiring you can be: I took these after I read your article today:


    I’m pretty happy with them actually.

    • pascaljappy says:

      Oh yes !! Very nice indeed. What is on the second ? A dead leaf ?

      • Eolake says:

        Yes, dead leaf. Becomes a quite interesting form when viewed up close, I think. (It’s very small, maybe an inch long the part you see.)

        Pretty amazing I could get away with this hand-held indoors (though close to a window).

        • pascaljappy says:

          Yes, very impressive !

          • Eolake says:

            Yes, and I expect or at least hope that the next versions of Olympus’ cameras will feature even higher ISO, since bigger cameras have made such progress there. It’s not often needed, but it’s great when you do.

            It seems we can expect at least a new EM-1 this year, and perhaps an EM-5 also.

  • philberphoto says:

    Abstract? Did you say abstract? I’d love to post some of my own here, except that being technologically challenged, I don’t know how. Call me an old geezer… But your point is excellent, and well made!

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