My Community

About a year ago, I decided to downsize my social engagement, included—among other platforms—my blog writing. This blog. Back then, I was running a bit on empty, and needed a break from what more and more had become an obligation—instead of the joy it once was when I started out with my blog for more than ten years ago.

The intention was not to withdraw completely, but rather to step down and just spend less time on social media, included this blog. However, I quickly lapse to just barely being able to keep my blog alive. Those of you who have followed my blog—and still have the patience to do so—will undoubtedly have notice the cut back.

I needed the break, and it’s been good for my mental health to lay low for a while. Nevertheless, I’d have to admit I have missed the regular contact with many of you in the blog sphere.

What I am saying, is that I am ready for a “come back”. It will be a slow comeback, and I don’t know what form it will take. It might not necessarily result in more posts, but I certainly will be more engaged again and go into the blog writing with renewed energy and enthusiasm.

Part of the reason I wanted to downsize my blogging commitment last summer, was the need to focus more on my professional activity as a photographer and creative artist. I felt my work had gotten stuck in an eddy, not progressing any more. I was not doing what I was passionate about any longer and I needed to infuse my professional life with exactly that again. Passion. That which I am passionate about.

That has always been my cue for any direction I have chosen, professionally or otherwise. Particularly the former (whatever I do for pleasure, is, of course, mostly pleasurable anyway). I believe in finding a way to enjoy and thrive with the work you do. Not only for money, but also for fulfilment of one’s life goals or desires. This last year, in fact longer than that, I have pushed myself out of the eddy I felt I had succumbed to. Now, I feel more inspire than in a long time, and I do more inspiring work again.

As part of my “recovery” or push forward, I have read a lot about creativity, psychology, self-efficacy, and other relevant literature. I always read a lot, but this time my reading has been more focus on these themes. One of the books I found particularly inspirational was Creative Calling by the renowned photographer and entrepreneur Chase Jarvis. He writes about his four steps—IDEA—to create a fulfilling, creative life. It starts with Imagine your big dream, what you want to become in life. Then you Design a practice that supports that dream. The third step is to Execute on your ambitions plan and make you vision real. Finally, you Amplify your impact through a supportive community.

This may sound a little too vague or generic, but Jarvis does a good job in making his thoughts concrete and executable. In fact when reading the book, I realized that for most of my life, his four steps are pretty much describing my own path. Nevertheless, I still learned a lot and was inspired to push myself even further.

What more is, I particularly found that I have not been good enough at practising the fourth step. In my whole life, I have pretty much believe in my own doing. I push myself, I mostly create by myself, and I have mostly developed my business by myself. However, reading Creative Calling, I realized I could have gained a lot by being more open for collaborative interaction.

As Charvis writes: “We’re are all social animals. We thrive on human connections. Creators aren’t exempt from this need. Whether you are an introvert or an extrovert, you get through the tough spots with the support and inspiration of people who ‘get you’. Your community.”

His point is if you are walking the path towards your dreams, but getting nowhere, go find communities of other human beings who are passionate about the same things you are and get involved. Roll up your sleeves. Participate. Collaborate. And don’t hold back.

This leads me back to my blog. I need to get back to my community. You. Among others, of course. When I look back at my blogging, it has precisely been a place I could discuss and exchange ideas with people of my kind, creative human beings. So, it’s about time to reconnect and enjoy the human connection again.

Finding a New Path

Summer time is time for re-evaluation. At least for me. During summer, life slows down, the daily pace becomes more agreeable and I get more time to ponder about changes or new moves I want to pursue over the next year or so. This summer: Social media.

My use of social media is something I continually assess. In fact, I find it more and more exasperating and time consuming—like most users, I believe—when the reality is that I am constantly running against time in my everyday life. Something needed to be done, and that’s what I have been pondering about during this summer.

The remedy is simple enough: Spent less time on social. And spend the time I am on social more wisely. Make priorities as to what I do and how I do it. That includes my blogging.

Blogging has been tremendously enriching. I have gotten new friends, not only in cyberspace but also in the real world. I have loved the contact I have had with you and all the others I have meet on my blog and other blogs. The regular exchanges and dialogues have given me a lot. Nevertheless, the reality is that it has been hard to muster the energy lately, as you may have noticed. The inspiration that I used to have for the blog simply isn’t there any more. If nothing else, that’s ironic when I actually intend to write about creativity.

I know what this looks like, so let me make it clear here and now that I am not stopping my blogging. There is too much about it that I appreciate too much. But I am going to downscale my activity. I simply needed to make some changes in order to find the inspiration again and feel like I can contribute to all of you who have followed me through the years.

The changes I am about to do, has already gotten me keyed up again. I think the result will be both exciting and better despite less frequent posts. First, I will indeed write less regular posts, going from one every week to posting twice a month. My goal is quality before quantity. I want to focus even more on the creative process and how we may spur creativity in ourselves. With less posts I will have more time for research, hoping I will not only turn my stack around but rather find new ways to induce inspiration.

What more is, and this is the second part of the changes, which I am quite excited about; in addition to my blog, I will also offer subscriptions to Sideways, my new monthly email ponderings about photography. Sideways will all be about photography, bringing thoughts, nuggets and ideas about how you can develop yourself as a photographer, improve your vision and bring your photography to the next level. Let me say up front; I’m not going to write about technique or cameras. If this sounds interesting, use the button just underneath to sign up. I’ll give you my eBook “10 Great Tips” for free when you do.

Both the blog and Sideways will be about creativity and finding inspiration, but the latter will only focus on photography whereas the former will be more general. As I said, I am excited for the changes and hope this will transpire to you and other readers.

LET ME INSPIRE YOU. RECEIVE NUGGETS AND NEW IDEA FOR YOUR PHOTOGRAPHY:

New Year New Possibilities

We have turned a page. A new and fresh year has been born. And with that change follows hope and new energy. The year we have left behind, will be one to forget in silence, one with too many disappointments and setbacks, a year that knocked the world over and brought it to a standstill—at best. For many people it turned out to be a disastrous year.

We are still not in safe heaven, far from. The virus that came upon us last year, is still making havoc, in fact in many countries, is creating more mayhem than it has so far. Nevertheless, we are facing the prospect of better times again. Hope is back. As new vaccines are put in production and more people are being vaccinated, although it will take time, we are on the track to some normalcy again. Slowly by slowly we will get there.

Personally, I am going to embrace the new year with aspiration and anticipation, both creatively and socially. I believe in changes and that any demise, even a worldwide pandemic, can be used for positive changes. As the saying goes, what doesn’t break you makes you stronger. New possibilities will arise in 2021. I will be ready to grab them, and even instigate new opportunities as much as I can. The waiting is over.

I hope you reader is ready, too. To get going again, if only slowly, as the world gets back on its feet. One thing I hope to accomplish is to be of some sort of creative inspiration with this blog. The blog has always been about creativity, but this year I want to focus even more on the creative part of photography—after all my own craft.

As some of you have noticed, I slipped away from the blog sphere part of last autumn. I needed a break and also to find a new direction. Towards the end of the year, I was slowly getting back in to blogging again. However, I admit I didn’t reciprocate your visits. That is one of my goals for the new year, to visit your blogs again. It does take a lot of time to comment on other blogs, so I need to restrain myself a little, but I want to be more active again.

I wish you all the best for 2021. What plans do you have for the new year?

Changing Direction

Now that yet another year is coming to an end and we heading into the holiday season—at least for many of us—I will take the opportunity to thank all of you, the readers of this blog, for your support and encouragement. Some of you have followed me since the beginning of my blogging, while others have been with me for much shorter time, yes, maybe for some of you, this post will be a first introduction to my blog. I appreciate every single one of you who has been with me, whether short or long.

I wrote my first blog in June 2011. That’s seven and a half years ago. Not bad, I think… It’s been quite a travel, in which I have look at various aspects of the creative process primarily based on my own experience as a photographer. As a matter of fact, I have learned as much as I hope any of you have from my blogging. When I started out I only knew I would write about creativity, although back then I had not much knowledge about the creative process, besides what my own experience had taught me. Since then I have read every book I have come across on creativity, whether it was plain inspirational books or heavy, scientific studies about how the creative process functions, mentally, sociologically, spiritually and, yes, even physiological. I think it’s fair to say that over the years I have gotten some insight into what it means to be creative.

As 2018 is closing in on us, I feel like I have come to an end of that road I started out in 2011. Lately, I have more and more come to believe that I am repeating myself, that I hardly have anything new to offer about the creative process. It’s not that I know everything that is to be known about the creative process—by far—but I need to find a different approach, I need to find new roads I can follow, both as a photographer and a blogger. Creativity will always be the foundation of this blog, but I want to expand.

However, right now at the present moment, I don’t know in which direction I am heading. Rather, I am going to use the holidays to contemplate about the future of this blog. When I get back with new posts next year it won’t be a revolution, but my hope is slowly over time to make significant changes in how and about what I write and emphasize.

For some time now, I have been thinking about how I can use my skills as a photographer more directly in my blogging. For instance, I have been mulling over the idea of posting practical tips about how to capture better photographs. At the same time I am aware that so many bloggers do exactly that, so then the question is how can I add anything different to the mix—or can I even? I have also considered writing posts in which I tell about what goes on behind the scene, showing how I am thinking when I am out on assignment. Again, the question is what value that brings to my readers—something different that’s not already out there? Finally, I have reflected on finding a way to give concrete feedback for any challenges you, the readers, are struggling with or just feedback on photos you take. For time to time, I have offered picture critique on my blog, but I find that the format hasn’t really been working good enough.

So many thoughts and so many reservations. What to do?

One thing I am sure about; I want to throw myself out on deep water. So often, I have written about stepping outside of the box, taking chances, face you own fear in the creative process. That is exactly what my blog needs at this stage. It needs some fireworks and colouring outside the lines, it needs to break free from whatever it has become. Or maybe it’s only me that need to allow myself some more freedom from my own restrictions, more don’t give a damn.

May I throw a curveball out to you, my reader? While I spend the holiday contemplating what I am going to do with the blog, maybe I can ask for your thoughts. What would you like this blog to be for you? How can it be more useful and more inspirational for you? Do you see a way in which you may use my expertise as a photographer (and a creative inspirer) more in line of your own needs? If you have any thoughts, please don’t hesitate to bring them fourth in a comment below. One more thing; if you have come across a book or some documentation about the creative process that you thought was extraordinary, could I ask to list that for me? I still want to learn more about developing our creative abilities.

Finally, I wish all of you Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year. I’ll see you again next year.

Great Photo Blogs

I have finally compiled the greatest photo blogs out of the many rounds of voting you readers have been through since I first announced in November last year that I soughed your suggestions for best photo blogs. Of the 206 blogs you suggested I assembled 34 of the most popular through the 14 rounds we have been through together. I think it ended up being a very far-reaching compilation. I have listed them on the page Great Photo Blogs. I hope this can become a reference page for all your bloggers who are interested in photography. I want to extend a warm thank you to all of you who helped me with suggestions and voted through the many rounds. As of now it’s no longer possible to vote – naturally. I hope some time in the future to repeat the process in order to be able to add new blogs which have come along since the creation of this page. Enjoy the many great photo blogs!

New Year New Chances

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First of all: A Happy New Year to all of you. I hope you have had a peaceful and relaxing season’s holiday. And I hope you have been able to reload you creative batteries and are ready for a new year with inspiring photography and new personal creative developments. As for myself I have had a couple of weeks completely off the grid. No phone calls, no emails, no blogging, no Facebook and no working. Of course I couldn’t stay away from photographing, but only in a very relaxing and totally unpretentious way – which is always the best way anyway.

Secondly I want to thank everybody who has submitted suggestions for my collection of best photo blogs. The page is now closed for further submissions, but a quick count shows that more than 400 suggestions were submitted. That is no less than extraordinary. It’s going be very exciting for me to go through each and every one of the photo blogs over the next couple of weeks. I will try to organize all them into various categories and then let you, my readers; decide which are the best blogs in each category. With so many blogs it will take some time before I have the presentation ready, though, but I am already working on it.

When I announced the competition I promised everyone who submitted suggestions I would send them a desktop wallpaper. Only a few sent their email for me to forward the picture, so instead I have made the picture accompanying this post available for everybody. It’s just for you to download. Clicking the image will take you to a high resolution 2560×1440 widescreen format.

Fantastic Response

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The response to my quest for finding the best photo blogs has been no less than fantastic. So far close to 170 suggestions have been posted on the Best Photo Blogs-page – and I hope still more to come. I thank every one of you who have submitted links to your favourite blogs so far. I have checked quite a few of them and find some of them to be really good and interesting. It’s going to be exciting to examine all the suggestions more thoroughly over the next couple of weeks. After deadline by the end of the year I will try to group the blogs according to relevant categories and then announce the next stage – the competition for selecting the best blogs in each category.

There is still time for more suggestions, though. So just go to the page Best Photo Blogs and add more links if your favourite blog or blogs is/are not on it yet. And there is absolutely no reason not to include your own blog if you think it deserves to be in the competition. The site will be open for suggestions up to and including January 31th.

On a different note I will also take this opportunity to thank everybody for the comments and «likes» you have posted under my various posts over the last couple of weeks. Unfortunately I have not been able to respond to everyone yet – it’s just been too busy around here lately so I am behind with paying my duties. But I will slowly by slowly catch up with you all.