I read an insightful blog update on the Photo Focus website this morning. Leastwise, I thought it was insightful. It was authored by photographer and writer, Joe Faraci. It's titled, "A Photographer's Three Phases of Development."
If you're either too busy, too lazy, too hung-over, or simply not interested (pick one) in reading Faraci's post, I can boil his 3 phases down into much fewer words-- Phase One: Your photography is awesome; Phase Two: Your Photography sucks; Phase Three: Your photography is all the same.
If you're a Phase 3 photographer, Joe offers some advice: Try shooting in monochrome mode. Okay, that might work for some, although there's certainly a ton of other stuff you might also try. Still, Faraci's advise is well taken: Do or try something different, something outside your comfort zone. In other words do something, anything, to get you out of your rut. (Assuming it's a rut you're in.)
I should note that all ruts are not equal. There are ruts born of comfort and security, there are ruts born of boredom, there are ruts born of lack of inspiration, there are many ways ruts are born, created, or exist. (Pick one or add your own.)
Personally, my Phase 3 rut is born of comfort and security. Most of my work looks the same -- different models, of course, but same sorts of photos -- because most of my clients expect my work to look the same or similar or very close to what they expect it to look like. What they expect it to look like, BTW, is very close or similar to what all of my clients expect. (Plus any would-be or hoped-for clients I'm continually eyeing.) Such is the way, I suppose, when the majority of one's work is performed in a single industry where the unwritten guidelines and expectations (of that work) is fairly uniform.
Sounds a bit like a Catch-22, no? If I want to continue getting paid for what I do, I need to maintain my rut. In fact, I need to maintain my rut to quality rut standards. If I want to transcend my rut, i.e., get out of my rut, I risk discontinuing getting paid for what I do.
I often wish, not that it's a unique wish, that I could win the lottery or inherit a bunch of dough. If I did, I'd probably (in addition to other changes in my life) give up being a professional pretty girl shooter and become a hobby photographer. If that happened, I'd also probably end up snapping way more photos than I currently do getting paid to snap photos. Not surprising, many of those photos would no doubt be quite a bit different, decidedly non-rut-like, than the photos I routinely shoot as a paid professional.
Oh well. I guess the grass is always greener and all that.
Here's the way I look at it, creative ruts aside: It's not always a good idea to try out new things on someone else's dime. That's not to say trying out new things isn't a great idea, it often is, but it should mostly be messed around with on one's own time and dime.
The pretty girl at the top is Allie from a shoot a few months back. Allie has just signed on with Vivid Entertainment as their newest "Vivid Girl." I also read, just today, that Allie is currently in Cannes where it's been announced she signed-on as the newest title-role star in the next generation of "Emmanuel" films, continuing the sexy franchise which began with Dutch actress, Sylvia Krystel, many years ago. Congratz to you Allie! You're lots of fun to work with (I mean that) and it definitely doesn't appear as though you're in a rut. If you are, in a rut that is, it sounds like a pretty good rut to be in. BTW, there's another pic of Allie (snapped during the same shoot as the one above) in my previous blog update, "Your Photography Sucks."