Keeping your eyes open seems like silly advice. Of course, your eyes will be open if you are awake and moving around. As I mentioned in the last blog (See The Break Away), I will be focusing the next few posts on the idea of getting out of the house and sparking that inspiration light that sometimes gets stifled when as a freelancer we isolate ourselves in our home offices, purely out of the circumstances surrounding the profession. Now, that you’ve broken away and gotten out of the house a bit it is time to truly open your eyes.
As a photographer, I have a bad habit of only shooting when I am hired to shoot. I know, it’s a piss poor trait to have as an artist. In my defense it largely has to do with my isolation. There is only so much one can shoot inside their own home. Lately, with my daily trips to Panera, I have been looking around and trying to find inspiration in the people and imagery around me. One thing I have noticed is that there are many people living their lives and even though on the surface they look like they are just having coffee and a bagel, they are actually having conversations about life. They are visiting with old friends and making new friends. They are doing business or getting out of the house to spark inspiration and fight depression (like me.)
I have started to use the power of my iPhone XR to capture some really nice candid photos of these people and the results are some interesting looks into the human condition of a suburban Panera in the middle of the country. Now, that may not seem like the most compelling of subjects, but as it turns out there is a lot of story to be told in the group of retired men and women enjoying the company of other retired men and women over a cup or two of joe. They talk about bull riders, needing to mow their lawns, taking photos with a stuffed Mickey Mouse doll, or helping their less mobile friends get around and experience life outside of the four walls they live in. These people have seen life, lost friends and family, and still smile. They join others at their tables to simply talk about life. This type of socialization is that of a child wanting to be friends with everyone. A trait we often lose during the middle decades of our lives and take for granted. Then it is gone and we learn to experience others again. This is what I have been able to see now that I got out of my house and opened my eyes.
So, get out of the house. Take a look around and see what life is happening outside of your own. Take a picture on your phone or with your mind. Use what you see in your art whether it is writing, photography, painting, or macaroni art. Use the world. There is so much inspiration out there if you just open your eyes and keep them open.