This is an opportunity to be reflective and work through those goals and projects that we have been meaning to.
We, at Elinchrom, wanted to spread the inspiration and motivation for you to do just that. We reached out to 5 photographers from all over to tell us how they are using this downtime to improve themselves, work on personal projects, and grow their skill sets.
Check out the third part of our chat, with photographer Michael Clark, we hope that his words help inspire you to keep creating and learning during this time.
How are you staying creative these next few weeks?
Like all of us, I am glued to the news and watching the virus spread all over the world. I have to work hard to turn it off and actually get something done. Since I am staying at home for the foreseeable future any photography will be quite restricted. Luckily in terms of work, I am in the midst of updating and revamping my digital workflow e-book entitled A Professional Photographer’s Workflow: Using Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop, which is a dense 500-page book and I still have quite a ways to go to fully update it.
I have been working on updating the book for the last year but I have been so busy with assignments that I haven’t made that much progress on the book. With all of my upcoming assignments canceled I have a lot of time to work on it now. I don’t know that updating the e-book is creative in any way, but in this stay-at-home period that e-book will hopefully provide some extra income once I can get it out there.
I am also seeing this as a great time to learn and explore new techniques, especially in terms of post-processing. At some point here I will set up the studio in my living room and experiment with new portrait lighting techniques but I hope to get the book finished first.
What is your daily routine?
When not on assignments, I am kind of a hermit. Hence, my normal routine in the office is pretty much the same as it has always been and my office is in my home so that makes it easy to go to work.
First thing in the morning is to get out and walk our Husky named Yuki—either my girlfriend or I take her out for a long morning walk—otherwise she will go stir crazy. We have a river walk in our backyard here in Santa Fe, New Mexico so that makes for a great place to walk and have some fun with the dog.
Once back from the walk, I grab breakfast and get to work in the office. My morning routine is to check my emails, and then check my standard favorite photo industry websites to see what is going on in the industry. Afterwards I get down to business and start working on the e-book and respond to other image requests that come in.
In the late afternoon or early evening we take Yuki out on her second walk of the day. I typically listen to a podcast or music while walking her. After that, we make dinner and relax or keep working it we need to.
Do you have any new goals/to-dos with the new time on your hands?
At the moment finishing up the book update is the major goal. Beyond that, I have been doing some accounting and figuring out how long I can go without shooting assignments since that is the majority of my income.
Beyond the book, I watch a lot of movies in general, and recently I was watching the documentary Miles Davis: The Birth of Cool on Netflix. In one part it talked about how Miles spent a few years early on experimenting with a lot of different techniques to find his sound. That part about “finding his sound” hit me and made me think hard if I have found my true sound with my photography. After 25 years as a professional photographer, I feel like I am still trying to find it.
As a commercial assignment photographer, I rarely have time to do personal shoots (though I do prioritize them when I have time) and this break seems like a really good time to stop and reassess what I have been doing and how I can experiment to find some new and exciting techniques, with my lighting and/or other techniques, to find a new sound—a new photographic voice so to speak.
I am not sure where that leads to but that is exciting to think I can reinvent myself yet again, which seems to be something we have to do as freelancers every few years anyway to stay in business and get to the next level. Of course, as a photographer that normally photographs athletes in the outdoors, that might be difficult to experiment with for a while until we get a handle on this virus but at least I can start the thinking process and even experiment here indoors so I am raring to go when we can get back to normalcy.
What are your top 2 tips for others to stay motivated & inspired?
My two tips for staying motivated and inspired are to first (and this is not one of them) turn off the TV and the news—but also stay informed.
Then, tip number one is to get creative. Create something new every day whether that is baking a loaf of fresh bread or working up images. Make some prints! I am printing a lot of my images right now and that is super exciting to see them come to life.
My second tip is to find those things that inspire you and sit with them for enough time to let them sink in and have an effect that motivates you to act—and to better your skills.
Also, in this time of need, we are still a community and there are still needs in our communities. I would encourage reaching out to neighbors and seeing if you can help out in any way—while also keeping your distance and protecting yourself and others. Our community here has already set up an email chain to help those that are in need and also make grocery store stops if folks are running out of food. Just because we are physically isolated doesn’t mean we have to be socially isolated. We have incredible technology these days to reach out and still see our friends—take advantage of it.
Gilmar Smith takes most of his creativity from his family and children. Find out more with this fourth part of our chat with another unique photographer during these Corona days.
Felix Kunze is our second guest to tell us how he is using this downtime to improve himself, work on personal projects, and grow his skill sets.