One of my favorite things to do is try and figure out new ways to get past those uninspired days. We all have them—and we probably all have them fairly often. Life has a habit of getting in the way, whether it’s the world’s problems getting you down or things happening closer to home. No matter what, though, there are times, whether it’s from serious health issues or a simple lack of energy, that we don’t have the inspiration we wish we did. And that is when I like to have plenty of ways to find inspiration ready to go.
One of those ways to find inspiration starts with one simple thought: There are now close to eight billion of us on this planet. Every one of us is unique, and each person has their own story to tell. That is a lot of fodder for us photographers—and it doesn’t stop there!
That’s the thing. Not all of us photograph people, and while certainly more of us could delve into this realm, even those of us who are comfortable photographing people don’t necessarily want to do it all the time.
That doesn’t mean there aren’t still stories to tell. Think for a moment, that if there are eight billion people in the world, eight billion possibilities, then how much else out there must exist for us to photograph? I saw somewhere that there are three trillion trees in the world. Whether that is true or not, I don’t know, but it certainly provides a lot of subject material for photographers who enjoy photographing trees. Every tree, every rock, every person, every animal, every building—all of it has a story.
So when we’re having one of those uninspired days? I think this can be a helpful way to find that inspiration. Go out into the world in search of stories. You don’t have to go somewhere exotic—your own backyard or the neighborhood park will do. Go slowly, examine your surroundings, and give a moment’s thought as to what story this interesting object or that interesting thing may have to tell.
A merry-go-round at your local park—how many children have laughed as they’ve spun around and around on it? A rock outcropping—how many people have climbed over it or enjoyed a picnic in its shelter? If it’s a building you’ve decided to photograph, then explore it. Look for a cornerstone with a date or check the sidewalks to see if someone inscribed something when the concrete was fresh. Go inside and see if you can find the marks on the doorframe where a parent marked the heights of growing children.
Absolutely everyone and everything has a story. Each of these stories is unique, and every one of them is worth telling. Search for that story, and when you do, you’ll find art.
Now go and enjoy the beauty of God’s creation through your lens.