Street Black Out

Edinburgh Street Photos

It’s been a while now, quite a while actually since I’ve been out photographing ‘on the street’ and I’ve no idea when I’ll be back with these dark mornings and evenings, despite the daylight time-shift.

Edinburgh Street Photos

When I do, I believe I will have to do something radical to make more meaningful pictures.

Edinburgh Street Photos

The Wee Dog

… but how do you do that?


These photos were all made with the Sony NEX6 which I only had for a few weeks either last year, 2013, or the year before until I realised it was broken.

The Strange Man

I actually broke it myself but with the expert assistance of the shop clerk. I showed him my flash, a National PE-2006, and asked him if it would work with it to which he said yeah, sure.

Thanks for the High Five Guys!

Edinburgh Sketchbook

Of course, in retrospect it was obvious to anyone with any actual knowledge of digital cameras that that flash would blow the circuits in the camera. A week later I got rid of it and never went back.

Edinburgh Sketchbook

Edinburgh Sketchbook

A sad story but using a different camera did help make different pictures but they weren’t different enough, so how do you make different pictures?

Edinburgh Sketchbook

Edinburgh Sketchbook

Edinburgh Sketchbook

The only way I can see is to either be different or try to think differently, so how do you do that?

Edinburgh Sketchbook

Edinburgh Sketchbook

Edinburgh Sketchbook, The Hero

Things I’ve contemplated trying:
– read mind expanding/altering literature, tried Naked Lunch 14 years ago.
– watch brain squashingly weird movies, ongoing.
– listen to music on a loop, previously worked for a painting.
– take trippy hallucinogenic drugs, never have, not sure I ever should.

Edinburgh Sketchbook, Police



None of those options would give immediate results that wouldn’t just be a facsimile of the inspiration, other than the drugs, because it still has to be processed by my brain’s ‘rationalisation process’.




I now think that changing the ‘rationalisation process’ of what’s a good picture, or a new picture, needs to take time and that that period of time is the dreaded lull in creativity that everyone experiences.

No matter what it is we do, painter, photographer, scientist, we need to allow time for our brains to absorb the book, the movie, the drugs or the moment before we can see differently … either that or I’m completely talking out of my bum-hole.


If you’re low on inspiration just wait, I’m sure it’ll come back and it’ll be good (fingers crossed).



8 thoughts on “Street Black Out

  1. I can’t tell you how many of my photography friends are going through the same thing. We’ve hit a brick wall. We think nothing we do is good enough to post for others to see. We’ve run out of subject matter that interests us. A few months ago 3 of us decided to meet up once a month, choose a new location, and go make photos. It’s helping. I don’t know what the answer is for long term, but not sure it’s such a bad thing to take time off, sit back, regroup and start again.
    Maybe using a nice OLD film camera, a couple of rolls of black and white film and a new section of town might help? If not, go to the pub and have a beer.


    1. Everyone goes through this at some point and more than once too.

      Back in the early 2000s when I was only painting, and not taking many photos, I went through this stagnant feeling for a number of years until I drastically changed career *and* moved house at the same time around 2006/2007. I managed to get a room all to myself and something clicked in me. I had a creative space, started to read art books again and became crazily inspired then painted solidly for about 2 years until that room was taken from me when my daughter was born.

      I lost my creative space to my daughter and also lost my inspiration to paint too. I now started to go through the whole loss of inspiration thing again but this time I found it through photography inspired by my daughter.

      The link I saw between it all was change, simple and profound, so maybe a change of camera could do it but maybe setting a larger goal could help better like reassessing why you make pictures and are they the ones you want to take, do you want your pictures to mean or say something in particular?

      How about trying to make a book through Blurb, SnapFish via Flickr, or one of the other myriad of book making/self publishing outlets. It’s a great way to present your photos in a photographic context or try to find another context or meaning in them.

      The three of you could group together and make a book between yourselves but choosing photos in a sequence is a tough but rewarding experience especially within a group, I know this with the GreySkies collective I’m in (a pub can help here).

      I feel I’ve ranted on a bit here but I hope you follow me!



  2. Going through pretty much this exact same thing mate. Mines ironically due to a photography course mainly. Feel stuck in massive frustrating rut. At first I was like “oh well, maybe taking a break is a good thing” but I havent really been able to take pictures for myself since the referendum really. Its shit because its about trying to get caught up and do well with the school shit but also trying to go out and develop MY photography and that latter bit is being held back. Hard to feel as inspired, motivated etc. Need a massive jolt myself. Ironically one of the points of taking this course was to get in with new/better ways of taking pictures, make some breakthroughs but fuck, hard to do that when your not given the time to really do that just getting slammed with one bullshit assignment after another where the goal seems to be to take as sterile a photo as possible.

    Time well tell. Maybe we’re on the wrong modules right now and the better shit well come later. But whatever, the frustration is palpable and I am dying to get to go out there and try make a decent shot.


    Liked by 1 person

    1. I just got off of Skype with your brother and he expressed the same opinion about the course. I can only assume they’re preparing you for the reality in some fields of photography where creativity is decided by comity; I’m sure that it’s not all like that but perhaps some fields are.

      I remember feeling something similar at art college, I expected it to all just fall into place but it took a lot of hard thinking and personal creative crisis to find inspiration and when it wasn’t there it was deeply infuriating.

      I think it’ll only be a matter of time and you’ll find yourself on a good module or something will click and that’ll be it. I’ve got this dream of making an inside project about garbage in Edinburgh, it’s all mapped out but all I do is talk about it, in my head. It’d be the perfect thing for me to do but I need to get over the first hump and that’s investigate how.

      Join a club, the weirder the better, then casually drop into conversation that it would make an excellent photography project and let rip!



  3. Great post Si, both interesting thoughts and wonderful photography. I really enjoy your street compositions – you have such a good eye for interesting shapes and positioning of people. Enjoyable and inspiring. I love the idea of listening to the same song over and over. Any “The Doors” song will do the trick nicely, especially ‘The End’ :-)


    1. Thanks JP, very kind, hopefully I can get some time in the field again soon.

      Talking about The Doors, what was funny about that time I was making the weird painting (which was donated to Maggies Centre Cancer Care and sold for just under 1K, LOL!) I was actually listening to two tracks on repeat, not one. “Riders on the Storm” AND, believe it or not, “The End”!

      What a transcendental night that was, I was up until 4am or 5am and the painting was really strange, even by my standards; I’ll have to find a photo if one exists.


      Liked by 1 person

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