Getting Your Drive to Photograph Back – Fighting the Quarantine Blues

In times like this it can be hard to find your artistic inspiration

It’s the late Spring of 2020 – Covid-19 is still gripping the world and everyone is trying to cope with a new reality where maintaining healthy business and personal relationships amid all of the distancing can be challenging. 

No two people are alike, and while some might find themselves thriving in strange times like these, others may be having a hard time even getting out of bed in the morning. For me personally, I was strangely invigorated at the start of the pandemic; it’s a weird feeling to live in a moment that you know will earn a very large place in modern history. However, as the days turned to weeks turned to months, the novelty wore off and I found myself emotionally stepping away from the activities that used to stimulate me. Instead, I played a lot of video games, watched a lot of YouTube, and quite honestly spent a lot of time bummed out by that fact that I couldn’t get inspired. 

Inspiration Is A Funny Thing

Inspiration can sneak up on you, it can abandon you, it doesn’t always answer the door when you knock, sometimes you can access it on demand, but other times it’s no where to be seen. For me, personally, as an artist, being inspired is the difference between being energized and excited versus being bored and defeated — and that’s how I was feeling, defeated, robbed of my artistic excitement. I had to really take a few days and ponder what it might take to snap me out of the funk and decided that often, when I was working with a client, the challenges of their projects would often give me the fuel I needed to find inspiration.  I love design challenges and while it’s not always a 100% chance that any given project is going to inspire me, I realized I needed to give it a shot. Only this time, I was going to give myself the project in an attempt to get my artistic motivation back on track.

I resolved to give myself a project that I would be normally excited for: A tech-based product shoot. I looked around my office at the multitude of gadgets surrounding me and quickly found some old hard-drives that had been wiped cleaned. I’ve never opened a hard drive before, and since I am a curious-type person, I quickly got excited at the idea of lifting the lid off of one of these old drives and then photographing the exposed bits.

After removing 5 screws and uncovering the disks or, “Platters”, as they are known, I then spent the next few hours crafting the composition and lighting until I finally had a picture I was genuinely excited with. I mean, I know it may sound silly, but just having a picture I was proud of really awakened my creativity and gave me a strong incentive to keep going. A few days later I was on a job that spanned 3 days of portraits in over 8 different locations, still carrying the enthusiast with me that I had found with that one hard drive photo back in my studio.  As I finish this blog post I am preparing to go back out and scout 3 locations for another portrait project, excited to have reconnected with my have my creativity.

Benjamin Lehman is a Commercial Photographer in the Cleveland, Akron, Canton and North East Ohio Area.