Staying in shape. / by Hugh Rawson

Writer’s block isn’t something which affects photographers. At least not in the literal sense. However, the lack of creative inspiration must surely strike at every creative soul at some point. I don’t have a solution except to push through it.


Last week, as I mentioned, I visited Oxford with a fellow snapshot junkie. It had been some weeks since I had picked up the camera for anything more than just the chance of a shot on a shopping trip. This was to be a dedicated photo-walk in a place that we knew a fairly well. And where no one was going to recognise us.


The camaraderie was great. The photography, at least on my part, not so good. I just couldn’t get my eye in. I lopped off limbs, heads and halves of bodies. I’m sure part of it was the fact that I hadn’t been picking up my camera as often - muscle memory let me down. It just didn’t come easy. But it wasn’t just the mechanics. My eye was not seeing things it would normally see. It all just went to show that  I really do need to keep shooting to stay “in shape."


I’m quite used to the fact that looking through images on the back of the camera over a pint is usually disappointing. Most of what I shoot (and most street photographers will say the same) is disposable and only fit for the delete button trash can. This time there were even fewer gems. Very disheartening.


And it was made worse by the fact that the shooting conditions and light were fabulous. The early evening sun was a beautiful summer gold that was further enhanced by the yellow stone of the old city buildings. It should have all been so good.


There was nothing to do but push through and keep shooting. Since then, I've gone back over the shots and one or two are okay. I’ve gone back to the masters - Leiter, Herzog, Webb, Gruyaert, Haas for their masterful use of colour. And I’ve gone out again - a short few hours in London. It seems to have worked - although the photos from this particular trip are awaiting the first cut and processing - and my eye is seeing and framing things the way it should.


Lesson learned.