Circles and Dots and Getting Out of Ruts
This is an example of an exercise that I do if I feel that I’m in a bit of a rut or if I have a bit of time to kill.
Rather than randomly waving the camera at stuff and firing the shutter I set myself a theme and a time limit. In this case the theme was circles and dots and my self imposed time limits were 15 minutes for shooting and 10 minutes for editing. I had no preconceived number of images in mind.
The theme can be anything fairly abstract., e.g. lines, surfaces, the color purple etc. I find that the process doesn’t work as well if specific objects or sets of objects are named such as say, flatware, items of clothing or clocks. To get even more specific I think that ball would be a bad subject choice but sphere would be a good one. The former closes the subject down while the latter opens it up.
The idea of the exercise isn’t to produce breathtaking photographs but rather to loosen up the mental muscles and hopefully to see our surroundings with a fresh eye. Speaking personally, I find that if I am thinking in terms of an abstraction my inner critic gives me a bit of time off. To put it another way, I am much more likely to work a scene than to reject it as boring or overdone. Setting out to produce several images rather than just one final photograph also has a loosening up effect. I am not sure why this should be.
Just click on any of the thumbnails to see a much larger version (will open on this page and in this window).