The chances are that if you’re a creative individual you’d have come across it at least once. You feel like your work isn’t good enough, you know you need to do more work in order to improve but you’re not feeling inspired, so you force yourself, but then you don’t like what you made, so you feel even less inspired. I found myself in such a spiral recently. I was experiencing creative block.
The problem was, I wanted to take my work to the next ‘professional’ level, which resulted in the mind-set that unless a shot was planned out, styled or otherwise had a deep, meaningful concept behind it, it wasn’t worth taking. As a result of this unrealistic ambition and seeing that time and resources are oft scarce, I ended up not making much work at all.
Enter the Halina AF700, I found it being sold for £1 in my local pawn shop and I expected it to end up in my camera graveyard (a shoe box of broken cameras under my bed). But I put a roll of Poundland film through it and it actually worked, and the results weren’t too shabby! When I was suffering from creative block I had become disconnected from what got me into photography in the first place, a compulsion to document my life. The pocket sized body and limited controls helped me to let go of my fears and go back to the joy of snapping pictures.
The fact that it’s impossible to take a photo that is technically ‘good’ or ‘high quality’ forces you to think of ways to use composition, colour and the actual content to make a compelling or pleasing image. This has pushed me creatively much more than my ‘better’ cameras because I know that I can take a boring picture of a leaf with a more high tech set up and still make it look pretty, but with the Halina that same picture would be just that, a boring picture of a leaf.
The cheap plastic body (can I call the design ‘retro’ or will make me seem like someone who only shoots 35mm to score hipster points?), means I almost never hesitate to get it out in social situations. It is also very easy to operate when drunk which results in hilarious party pictures (I don’t like taking photos on my phone so this is a fun alternative).
Loosening up and a taking a more casual approach to taking pictures has slowly dragged me up from a slump. As creatives, we constantly have to push back against the fear; the fear of not being good enough, of running out of ideas, of failing. Through my experiment with the Halina I have learned not to take myself (or shooting) too seriously and get back to having fun and using photography as a tool to document my experiences. This has helped take some of the fear out of creating, what techniques and tricks to you have to beat creative block?
For more of my work, thoughts and adventures see my Blog.