Post Workshop Re-entry Blues


Re-entry to ‘ordinary life’ can be difficult after a deeply personal experience, such as a photo workshop based on creativity, community and artistic/emotional vulnerability rather than camera equipment. If your workshop also included travel outside of your own culture it can be even harder. You have changed yet the world around you back home has not. You want to share your new growth but others may want you to stay the same. Here are some ways to continue to live your art:

– Find or start a support network of like-minded photographers or artists.

– Avoid photo groups more interested in cameras and equipment than in artistic self-expression.

– Be very careful whom you take criticism from! Consider the source…

– Explore your own motives for who you want to share your work with and why.

– Nurture artist and artist-friendly friendships, especially from other disciplines.

– Find a mentor. Meet with him or her at regularly scheduled intervals.

– Take yourself on an ‘artist’s date’ (see Julia Cameron/The Artist’s Way).

– Visit local galleries and museums. Look at paintings, sculpture and other art forms.

– Visit your local public library and look at art and photo books.

– Notice how the work you admire uses composition and negative space.

– Read a book from the ‘Recommended Media List’.

– Re-read the book Art and Fear by Bayles and Orland.

– Google the work of photographers listed on the ‘Recommended Media List’.

– Use ‘Shots’ magazine or ‘Open To Interpretation’ upcoming submission themes as your next assignment.

– Selectively enter your photos to gallery calls, publication submission calls and photo contests.

– Plan photo outings with specific predetermined themes.

– Give yourself specific assignments with a deadline for completion.

– Try using the Vision Quest Photo Assignment Cards for new photo assignments.

– Mine your previous work for themes, then turn those themes into projects.

– Have a timetable and deadline for those assignments or projects.

– Set up a group exhibit, with a theme, for your artists group.

– Secure an exhibit of your own work. Deadlines can be amazing creativity energizers!

– Set up an exhibit with members of your workshop.

– Post your photos for comments and sharing on Vision Quest’s Facebook page.

– Join an existing Flicker or photo-sharing group.

– Start a Flicker or other photo-sharing group with members of your workshop.

– Start an ideas or creativity journal. Write about your process, progress and struggles.

– Publish a Blurb or Apple book of your workshop photos and experience.

– Re-visit and re-work workshop assignments.

– Re-visit the writing exercises from class.

– Have something to look forward to: sign up for a future workshop!


©Douglas Beasley 2013