Making the Monotonous Memorable by Lee starnes


I hear it all the time, “I’m bored of shooting the same old stuff.” Most of the time its from my own mouth and I’ve said it more times than I’d like to admit.

As photographers, we want to see new things, shoot new locations, create new art. That’s all well and good, but there is so much beauty in the seemingly mundane that we could shoot the same location for weeks on end and still find something unique and interesting. We just need to shift our perspective. Coming up with something fresh and different is a challenge, but shooting repeatedly in the same location pushes us to dig deeper, look closer, to slow down. It allows us to become intimate with a place and its people. “Seeing old things with new eyes” can add layers into a story that perhaps a first look had missed.

If you’ve been reading here long, you’ll have likely heard me go on and on about the importance of slowing down. It has enabled me to enjoy the sheer act of shooting. It’s a ticket to exploration, to meeting new people, to getting to know my neighborhood better. Half of the images below are within a block or two of my apartment and all of the images are from places I’ve been to many many times before. Taking the initiative to shoot around my immediate surroundings left me immediately annoyed with myself for not recognizing the beauty in what had become monotonous after living on the same block for 5 years. Going to locations I’ve shot over and over again challenged me to look further, to ask more questions and look for subtleties previously overlooked.

Even if the resulting images never see the light of day, merely shooting and being present serves as good practice and while many say quality over quantity, but quantity equals practice and practice leads to quality. If you look at your daily outings as opportunities for practice, the quality will come far quicker than if you just wait until you “have the time” or “have the perfect location” or any of the other myriad of excuses we all tell ourselves.

Leave an image or comment down below showing us how you find beauty in the mundane and push through creative ruts!