Only the criminally insane never sleep. The rest of us mere mortals are haunted by insecurity and inertia. We like to sleep and do nothing. You’d never catch the likes of Peter Mandelson or Paul Dacre or David Cameron snoozing in bed surrounded by the Sunday funnies and a cold Chinese takeaway. That’s because they’re too busy plotting ways to make life even more miserable for the wretched population. It was alleged that Margaret Thatcher only slept for about 13 minutes every year or something. It showed. Manic eyes popping out of her blue-veined skull on stalks like laser beams of utter hatred and contempt. It’s a sad reflection on democracy that things always seem to go bad when politicians get busy. Maybe the United Kingdom might now be a safer and more secure place to live if Maggie had just hit the snooze button once in a goddamn while.
Every photographer will wake up one morning and stare at the wall like a fool for a few hours, days, weeks…sometimes even years. Mick Rock hasn’t snapped a decent photograph since 1979. Joke. Just a joke. But finding inspiration when nothing is piercing the fog is a desolate feeling. There are many self-help articles out there to help you back on track but all of these seem to have been written by Jehovah John and Feelgood Freddie. Every article basically boils down to two things: either buy a new lens or go out for a long walk. Thanks for that. I think I’ll just lie here in bed with my self-harming scars instead. Joke. Just a joke.
But buying a new lens to drag you through the fog is not a bad idea. You have to justify the expense by actually bolting the thing onto the camera to see if it works. Murder, however, is probably more constructive. The problem with murder is that it tends to be illegal. Ripping the soul from another human being might very well be a kick-start to the mojo but the resulting coffee table book will be underwhelming. No one actually likes staring at grainy photographs of prison inmates playing chess.
So instead we’ve devised a few fail-safe diversions to get you back on that horse and keep you out of jail.
Drinking anything that can be heated and distilled into a synthetic diamond is always going to snap your brain stem. But drinking diamonds all night in a bar with no windows is probably going to make your brain think that it could crush the moon. That’s actually not a bad photograph if you could just stop sweating and shaking like an epileptic.
Watch A Movie
Any movie. It doesn’t matter. Just pick a movie at random and try and work out how the director lit each scene. You can tell by the shadows. Sometimes you can also tell because the director didn’t realise he’d caught the lighting crew reflected in a window. Yes, you, George Lucas, Ridley Scott and James Cameron. You could even try combining a movie with tequila. Let us know how that pans out. Seriously. It might actually make Blade Runner worth watching.
Change Your Discipline
Fashion & Glamour not floating anyone’s boat recently? Get your self to a war zone instead. There’s something truly inspirational about snapping a few frames whilst dodging bullets, land mines and American rocket drones. Similarly if your recent landscapes suck then photograph someone’s funeral instead. It doesn’t even have to be the funeral of anyone you knew. Just follow the hearse into the cemetery and stand there looking sad. Technically you could be arrested but trespassing is only a misdemeanour and you could always raise the fine by selling your images to the bereaved.
We’re not talking about embarking on some ridiculous spiritual journey of self-enlightenment. We’re talking about a trip to the shops. Go out and stare at some food or some cars or even some people. Everybody has a story to tell and a few of them can even be quite interesting. Except squaddies. Never ask a squaddie to tell you a story. No one has given a flying fuck what a squaddie had to say since 1944.
Get A Job
There’s nothing quite like a deadline to shatter creative lethargy. The dog didn’t eat your homework. You’re fired.
You get the idea. It’s an amazing world if only we care to look beneath the mud and sludge. It’s safe to sleep. Thatcher can’t see you now. What was that thing she said? Something about crushing society, abandoning the impoverished and privatising basic human rights…?
Damn. Now I can’t sleep.