The other day, something amazing happened. I broke my, what seems like, year long creative block. I’ve been creating and have created some images that I know will last in my portfolio, but I’ve felt a bit repetitive and have wanted to break out of it, but nothing “new” and fresh came to my mind…until the other day. I wanted very badly to create in a new way. I woke up thinking about a photo idea I had for a while, and so I started looking for locations. First where I live, then in my whole state, and then in my whole country. I just wasn’t having any luck. I needed a space with three blank walls and no windows that I could shoot in, but was coming up empty handed.
The image isn’t perfect, but I wanted to share it anyway because it is a symbol of what is possible. I’m going to continue shooting in boxes this week and really hope to create a small series of images by the week’s end. All in a box. All in my little office. All filled with inspiration.
Have you ever created with something unusual? Or used something in a way it isn’t necessarily intended? If you have, share the resulting image or story with me! If you have ideas of what could be used, share that, too! And if you create something this week with this theme, leave the image in the comments. Can’t wait!
Amani - This is such an amazing idea! This is one of those moments where I’m like “oh wow, why didn’t I think of that?!” haha I love how the image turned out. And the red on the floor/bottom of the box looks great.
I’m up for the challenge! I’ll brainstorm and create something, and come back and send you a link. But in the meantime, I thought of this image that I created almost a year ago: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=urGC-H8vJv0
I wanted to create something inspired by the movie Thumbelina (one of my favorites growing up), and I wanted it to be in a snowy forest. Of course, there are no forests where I am, and definitely no snow, so I tried to create it myself.
brookeshaden - Wow!! I love that video. How incredibly creative of you. I’m really interested now in using miniature sets, it really is a great way to work around not having a budget or a lot of locations, etc. It is a tough thing to do, but I’m determined! Fantastic work Amani, thank you for sending me inspiration today!!
FIT BMX - You’re right, this is a great video! I hadn’t thought of using a miniature set like that, it is a really great I idea! For info on building miniature sets, look up model railroads. Those guys know how to do some great looking miniature work!
Wonderful job Amani!!! 🙂
Michelle - Gosh Brooke, you are so incredibly inspiring! Talk about making the extraordinary out of the ordinary! I have been in a photography ‘funk’ lately but this kicked my creative butt. What this teaches me is to ‘just give it a red hot go!’ 🙂 Your willingness to share your process is admirable and generous. I am dissapointed that I couldn’t make it to your upcoming Australian retreat, but countering that I’m still incredibly stoked that I got to go to one of your workshops last year. Many blessing to you. Cheers, Michelle.
brookeshaden - I’m so glad that we got to know each other! Maybe another retreat 🙂 Thank you for being so kind! I can’t wait to see what you create – it really is amazing what we can do with so little sometimes.
Elissa - How funny, I’ve had a half finished image sitting in my files now for about 6 months, kind of the same idea but I had composited the walls using other photos and now I’m wishing I had thought to take a picture of the inside of a cardboard box. Duh.
brookeshaden - I’ve done that too, with compositing walls! Both work great, I’m finding. Anything can work great, really! And there is always a cardboard box, if something doesn’t work out 😀 XO!
Kim - This is such an inspiring idea. I already know what I’d like to do. Yet I have no experience with composites and have only used Lightroom 6. I have been wanting to learn how to do composites in PS. Do you have a referral of your favorite tutorials? Thanks!
brookeshaden - It’s so much fun! I taught a class on CreativeLive all about compositing if you’re interested! https://www.creativelive.com/courses/basic-techniques-advanced-compositing-brooke-shaden
Richard Smith - Way to go and make your own reality — talk about taking matters into your own hands! I especially like your documenting the thought process along with the actual hands-on details of the shoot. I did something similar a while back with a series of random shots I knew I wanted to use, but wasn’t sure how until I made it happen: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F-5gJaEaHVY. Looking forward to more Brooke box shots!
brookeshaden - That is really incredible! What inspiration, watching that. Thank you for sending. Really amazing image, very thought-provoking.
FIT BMX - I’m glad it works for you, but it would drive me nuts doing composite work on a phone! LOL
It looks great though. 🙂
Louise Alexander - I’m loving both of your videos! I’ve never thought of creating my own environment – it opens up a whole new range of possibilities (especially if the weather is rubbish as it frequently is in the UK!). I think my example of using something unusually would be from the photo meet up in Clapham, London a couple of weeks ago. There was so much going on but as I was rummaging around I spotted the piano cover! The material was really thick and quilt like – not something I’d usually use – but when Samm kindly put it on (I was thinking it could work as a cape) it was so rigid and the folds reminded me instantly of a cocoon. The image is here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/106532666@N06/21422591551/in/dateposted-public/ Thanks again for a great day Brooke! 😀
brookeshaden - Louise, that is just a gosh darn amazing image and I am so thrilled to see it come out of our time together! What an amazing experience it was for me to watch everyone creating. Here’s to a world of possibilities!
Louise Alexander - Oh YAY! So glad you like it. The background is from Iceland by the way. We stayed near the Blue Lagoon for a long weekend to see the Northern Lights, but didn’t travel much. I loved how alien the landscape is. Wish I’d had a decent camera at that time!
Tim Stephens - I’m always excited for another chance to see your creative process, Brooke. Thanks so much for another opportunity! But equally important to me when I read this post was the fact that “even you” 😉 can have a week where nothing pans out. It’s good to know the struggle is normal, if nothing else. And by the way, what’s this I keep hearing about a bon fire?? Is that for early birds? I didn’t see anything about that in the schedule. But there’s nothing better in my opinion. Except for a bon fire AND mulled cider. Can. Not. Wait! 🙂
brookeshaden - Ahhh yes! Last minute addition the night before. So if you are arriving on October 1st, we’ll be doing a bonfire at 9pm 🙂
PS – Failure is always imminent for me. I love it!
Hanna - How great that you got out of that creative block! In one of the very first composites I did I used silver ear rings to create angel wings. I can see now that the quality of my image wasn’t good and not the composite either but I remember this shoot very well. In my livingroom, in the dark, trying desperately to get the right angle and also to get the camera to focus :). It’s good to look at old stuff to see some progress! Here it is: https://www.flickr.com/photos/101321983@N04/9685219607/in/dateposted-public/
Omar - Hi Brooke, we shook hands in Amersfoort when I crashed your workshop, in the garden 🙂 Wanted to say thank you, prob. now is the time. Your post reminded me of an evening I was completely fed up with selfie posing and decided to do something different, here it is and thanks! 🙂
and this is before, taken in a cardboard box of 30 by 40 cm;
Polina Perry - Your ideas are endless, that’s amazing!
something similar happened to me… A few days ago i was supposed to go shooting in a gorgeous location outside. It was supposed to be my first self portrait (which you pretty much inspired me make 🙂 ) and everything was well planned. eventually this drip didn’t worked out.. But instead of staying frustrated about it I came up with this idea to turn the empty room of my roommate who had not yet moved in to a studio!
And here is the final result:
Delesa - Bäm! That’s why I love to follow you. What an amazing solution! Love it, love it, love it. I have not finished sth yet, but when I come home today I know how to use my last funny shot of a tree 😉
Maria - I would like to show an example of a simple prop that any conceptual artist would use to form a dress – it is a bedsheet. I naturally intented to use it to form a large dress that would cover most of the picture, but it turned out that it was very windy and cold that day plus I was near the river so it was even more windy.
I had a friend with me, who helped me to bend in unnatural way and hold me in order not to fall.
When I came back home and wanted to edit the picture it turned out that in most of the shots the bedsheet was too wrapped in itself I couldn’t make a dress. But I really liked the pose and desided to a mermaid-like tail to create a creature.
So here is the picture ‘monster’ – https://www.flickr.com/photos/mariam_pic/19170627505/in/photostream/lightbox/
Rachel Benton - Gosh I did the same with my cupbaord! It was plain white so I fell in love with it, and thought it would be a good background for something. I couldn’t find any use for it until I got hooked on my Alice in Wonderland theme!(Using photoshop) I pasted wallpaper onto the sides of the cupboard, a celling, paintings on the walls and turned it into a room (which was empty expect from things hanging from the wall) – finally a pasted a large version of me into what it’s now looks like a tiny room. Best composite I have ever done!!
Sarah Chase - This was such a great challenge!
I walked around my apartment, then took a quick shower to think (my best ideas happen around water!)
My original idea had a human-like doll on a shelf. I did my makeup and hair, and took pictures of my son’s cubby shelf. three tries in with the composite and I still disliked it. I tried again today without the shelf and I like it much more!
Thank you for the challenge! xoxo
FIT BMX - Really cool idea! I will try and come up with a photo to post, I love a challenge to make me try something new! 🙂
Sandra - Dear Brooke, you have been one of those lights that inspired me back into photography. Although I do not yet have the full courage to set myself outdoor in scene, I am heading towards it and first doing some “detox” . So here is something to see how nonjudgmental we are . I actually needed sperm for my pic , but every morning I am doing oil pulling in my mouth with coconut oil, and i found out it is a perfect substitute in its consistence.After ten minutes swishing it through teeth it is almost the same…With the added lightening it lost some of the originallity but you can have a look …thanks girl!
And interesting the pic is actually also called ” Detox” . Perfect fit . https://www.flickr.com/photos/134144153@N04/albums/72157658057073385
Thomas Miles - My photo for the promoting passion challenge! 😀 https://www.flickr.com/photos/97999552@N05/20849969434/
This shoot involved a lot of new challenges for me and by creating a new perspective helped me to push my boundaries of what I can create! I hope you like and have a great rest of your week 🙂
Kathryn - I was actually very recently in the same predicament. I had the concept for a picture idea in my head that required me to have a red cloak. I thought I had one but I couldn’t find it ANYWHERE so I had to improvise. While I was digging through my closet looking for the red cloak I came upon a red tree skirt we bought for Christmas a few years ago. Since I couldn’t find the cloak I decided to go with plan B…the tree skirt. It turned out just fine 🙂
The image is here if you wanted to see: https://www.flickr.com/photos/66354295@N07/20722480340/in/dateposted/
Ruth - Hehehe, what a lovely and simple idea! I love to use unusual or rather unexpected things. Last year I took pictures of a beach at night, it was all about atmosphere. Unfortunately there was no beach, there was no moon and no sky. 😀 It was a wall painted in yellow and blue-ish black. The moon was a nail! Here are the pics: http://www.alltagspoesie.com/all-about-yellow/
Then, there was another moment this year, when I wanted to capture a feeling of intimicy. I went to a tango event and hoped for a beautiful couple… I found a blue horse standing at the venue. At first I thought “we need to find another point of view”, but then I noticed that the horse was watching the dancers. So I used the horse as a friendly voyeur to even boost the intimacy of the dance. The colours were perfect, I was a lucky girl that evening! 😀 Here is the picture: http://www.alltagspoesie.com/tango-argentino-milonga-by-ruth-frobeen/
I love simple ideas. They can increase your artistic expression in such a beautiful way. Frustration? Go away! 😀
Have a lovely day, Ruth
Ruth - Oh! I just remember doing a really strange thing for my little daughter. She was sad that the flowers were withering. I wanted to cheer her up, so I took a hazel nut and made up a story about a dancing mouse. This is the result: http://www.edelfrosch.de/2014/08/16/blumen-sind-wohl-kunst-miss-hazel-die-tanzmaus/
Standing ovations and flowsers for Miss Hazel! That day we made up many adventures of the dancing mouse. 😉
Sergio Anguiano - I love this idea so much. It was just what I needed to just create an image that had been in my mind for months already but I never got around to just doing it. I used a big piece of cardboard to block the light from my right side to replicate the light as if I were under the chimney. I wrapped myself in a hammock that my grandmother gave my family from Mexico and the pieces of wood are roots my dad and I took out of our backyard 2 weeks ago. Here is the video I made inspired by your “Promoting Passion Week 87” video.
Marius Els - Love this idea, thank you Brooke.
Catherine Brand - Hi Brooke, this was such a wonderful idea, it will definitely make you think outside the box, which is what we all need at times. I’m still learning to composite images, but Im going forward and pushing my boundaries to see where it takes me. I’ve enjoyed this challenge and just wanted to say thank you for inspiring us all to be more creative with just the simple things in life. Have a Blessed Day. Cathy https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10207253606001556&set=a.10202485583483973.1073741829.1326408516&type=1&theater¬if_t=photo_comment
Catherine Brand - Brooke you have always inspired all of us to be creative with just the simplest of things, so mine just happens to be a flowerpot, called … Theres No Place Like Home. Thanks for the Challenge. Cathy
aleezahm - This is an amazing video. I have experience using alot of crazy stuff for shot and since i am limited with places, usually i just create my own world with magical and fantasy imagination. I envy with your work and always inspired me.https://www.flickr.com/photos/aleezahm/
aleezahm - Love all your promoting passion videos. In my case, I have to create my own place in order to create my images and sometimes i do crazy thing. To create fantasy and imagination world. This is one of the example of my work previous years https://www.flickr.com/photos/aleezahm/20943479324/in/dateposted-public/. Thank you so much for the inspiration.
Brad Barton - love it… I have successfully used fish tank decorations as Greek ruins a couple of times… Look at Perseus and Medusa and also Andromeda at http://bradbarton.us/be-mythic
Also adore you using a weeping angel as a stand in
New project – Living in a box! @ Finn-b Hansen – Photographic Art - […] project, “Living in a box”. I got the idea from Brooke Shaden’s post “Think outside the box“. I made a room from a cardboard box, and I’m planning to live a life in that box. […]
chrystal kelly - https://500px.com/photo/73683619/land-of-the-lost-chrystalkelly-by-chrystal-kelly?from=user_library
I made this about a year ago, but have been really fascinated with the idea of working with miniature sets for a while so I am going to explore further. I made this image with a tiny glass terrarium, I shot myself through the long front window of my house, putting some plants around the inside of the window and spraying it with water, a curtain behind me and substituted the pane in my window for the one in the terrarium. Had allot of fun getting muddy and wet that day!