Q&A with an Oho : Inspiration
A. It’s starting to be that time of year, isn’t it?
Photographers are spending hours upon hours in our PJ’s behind our computers, only putting on mascara for weddings, client meetings and the occasional family dinner. (Oh, that’s just me then?) We’re spending days in our offices without speaking to another human being, only coming out for coffee refills and Sour Patch Kids. (Again? Just me?) And every week is spent shooting, editing, burning, delivering and then doing it all over again the following week. (If I am alone in this one, I quit.) I have to be honest, it’s no wonder inspiration seems to be running short across the board. All work and no play makes anyone (and everyone) a dull character so why should it be any surprise that we are feeling uninspired?
I am a sensory person by nature. Visuals, sounds, smells, tastes and touches are my holy grail and truly are the things (beyond human to human connection) that fire me up. I won’t lie; I work pretty hard to stay inspired on a sensory level. When you sit at the same desk, in the same chair, in the same room, at the same address, every day, for any extended period of time, it’s easy to start to feel incredibly blasé about the spaces we live our dreams in when in fact, we should be striving for the exact opposite.
Sometimes inspiration comes easy; a color, a photo in a magazine, a piece of home decor, a certain look from a certain loving & lazy dog and my brain is off and running, churning up new ideas, poses, and shoots and I can sail along easily until (what feels like suddenly but is usually a combination of events that drain my energy) inspiration doesn’t come so swiftly anymore. The first time I felt really lost was fairly early on in my photo career. At that point, I was still trying to define the Melissa Oholendt Photography Signature Style and was constantly comparing myself, my brand, my work and my successes to Joe Schmo Photo; I now recognize that comparison of any kind is my main inspiration killer but at the time, I thought what I was doing should actually be inspiring and uplifting. As it turns out, it wasn’t, and I found myself floundering trying to figure out how to re-inflate that sense of inspiration without knowing the cause of what had killed it in the first place.
I think this happens for everyone. There are entire workshops dedicated to figuring out what inspires you and how to push yourself to the next level; this speaks to the fact that this is a common conundrum for creatives. We have sad times, we lack inspiration. We work too hard with too little time with those that power us up, we lack inspiration. We spend weeks on end in a space that amplifies stress instead of calming it, we lack inspiration. We spend TOO MUCH TIME on Twitter or Facebook and are constantly fed with other’s successes (and defeats) and feel uninspired with how our lives are going. It happens. And, unless someone finds some mystery fountain of youth and inspiration and gives me the key, I think it is something that will continue to happen throughout my creative’s career.
For me, figuring out how to not spiral down the pit of feeling uninspired meant figuring out what inspires me to begin with. AND figuring out what things can instantly send me to Uninspiredville and actively avoiding those things. They say the best offense is a good defense and I’ve worked hard to build a planned defense and fill my life with every day inspirations. And sure, things will come up that will blindside my well-built defense but I do feel that knowing my common triggers, how to avoid them and what helps to re-inspire me when I can’t (or don’t) avoid them has been half the battle so far in my creative career.
So where do I actually find inspiration? SO. MANY. PLACES. Like I mentioned, I am a sensory driven human so the majority of my inspirations come from things that affect my senses. You may be different. You may be a dreamer and the idea of spending a quiet afternoon with an empty notebook and your thoughts fires you up. That is awesome. Do that. If you are inspired by encouraging the people who surround you? Make efforts to make that a part of your every day. If you are sensory oriented, like me, find out which of your senses are the most potently affected. My main inspiration triggers are visuals and sounds. This means a beautiful, peaceful and organized workspace that stimulates my brain. This means epic iTunes playlists and thoughtful & quirky indie films, regularly. This means a budget for fashion, home decor and lifestyle magazines. This means dedicated time to catch-up with the husband or time to just laugh with some of my best friends. This means Pinterest! And sometimes? It means a day or two away from my desk and giving myself time to enjoy the outside world without guilt. And that is ok.
Figure out what inspires you and do that. Often. And a lot.
Next Monday I am starting a new weekly blog series called, appropriately, Inspiration Monday. I can’t promise anything groundbreaking but I am still pretty darn excited to share the things that make me think, make me laugh, make me cry and just generally keep my inspiration level at an all time high.
I can’t promise it won’t include a Bieber song.
If there are any questions you would like answered, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org anytime. Night or day. Day or night.