There is a great group of photographers from the Flickr NH group that I try to get out with as often as I can. These meet-ups are always a good time and I’ve been introduced to some spectacular locations I never would have known about without the people in this group. As much as I enjoy these meet-ups, something has been on my mind lately. I’ve wondered if I’m at my creative best while out shooting with a group. This thought occurred to me this past weekend after reviewing the images I captured while on an outing to The Flume Gorge. For the most part, with but a few exceptions, I was not overly pleased with the images I came back with. And this isn’t the first time I’ve had this thought, and felt this way about the results from a group shoot. After other past meet-ups I have been less than thrilled with the results as well.
I was able to come away with a few images that I’m proud to have made, but it seems to me that I’m able to create more “keepers” if I’m out on my own. I can’t put a finger on why this might be, but I do have a few suspicions. Is it the pressure I feel to keep up with the group, or to not hold them back, that takes my attention away from the creative thought process? Or it could be the simple fact that I spend more time socializing and less time “seeing?” I have a very strong suspicion it is mostly the later, as I truly enjoy the camaraderie of these group meet-ups. And I wouldn’t sacrifice these meet-ups at the altar of creativity for the sole purpose of increasing output. I can not put a value on the knowledge and the friendships I have gained as a direct result of these photography excursions. I haven’t met a single person on these group outings that hasn’t helped advance my photography in one way or another, be it with advice to help improve my photographic technique, or introducing me to a new place. All this is what make these meet-ups worthwhile.
The images shown here, some of my favorites, have all been created while on a group photo shoot. “Ice Mushrooms” (above), “Ft Stark Sunrise” (below), and most recently, “Flume Gorge Covered Bridge”(bottom), all taken when in the company of others. I do feel these images hold their own as good photographs, and I’m not saying that I am unable to make good photographs unless I’m by myself, but I feel the images come more easily when it’s just me, my camera, and the great outdoors.
So to answer the question, are we better off alone when it comes to our creativity? Sometimes for me, I feel the answer is definitely yes, but always going it alone just wouldn’t be any fun. I would like to here your thoughts on whether you feel your creativity is hampered when in a group setting.