It can be tough to stay creative all the time. There are so many demands on us in life—jobs, family, our homes, and more, and all of these things can whittle away at us. Too, with time, some of our favorite creative wells, like the places we frequent for photography, start to dry up.
But, you know one of the beautiful things about creativity? There are always new ways to breathe life into it. I think that one way to breathe new life into our creative pursuits is simply experiencing people. It’s a big world and there are so many interesting people in it, people all around us from all walks of life, from all kinds of different places, each with unique experiences.
When I speak of experiencing people, I don’t mean creating portraits of them, necessarily. Rather, I mean to be open, to meet them, to get to know them. If someone says hello and strikes up a conversation while you’re walking down the sidewalk or waiting in an elevator, be open to that experience and see what develops from it.
Sometimes an interesting thing happens when we’re open to people in this way. Often, as the conversation unfurls, the person with whom you are speaking will happily talk about the area you’re in, or the area they’re from. It’s one way to learn beautiful but little-known spots that you may want to visit with your camera.
This makes me think of Ohio’s Amish Country as an example. Most people who want to visit Amish Country find out—or learn quickly—that the top destination is Berlin, Ohio. That’s where all of the tourism activities are, the shopping venues, and so on. And there are lots of opportunities for photography in Berlin. Opportunities that hundreds of other photographers have already explored. Not that there’s anything wrong with you exploring them and applying your own unique perspective to these things.
But, if you open up and start talking to people in Berlin, particularly the people who live in and around this little town, that’s where you’ll start to find the hidden gems. Just talk to the locals, hear their stories, learn about their favorite out of the way places. In Berlin, this will invariably lead you out into the beautiful countryside to places that are off the maps provided by tourism organizations. Little secluded forests, beautiful streams, rolling, picturesque farms—there is lots to discover out there.
The same is true of any area. There are always interesting things to be found, unusual things that haven’t been explored as much as the things you’ll find in the top spots of a Google search for that area. And the only way to learn about these places, often, is from the people who live there.
Be open to people, hear what they have to say, don’t hesitate to meet new people, or to strike up a conversation with strangers. It will get you learning and they may even mention these hidden places that you can visit to take a few pictures.
Now go and enjoy the beauty of God’s creation through your lens.