For me, Downtown Lancaster and its back alleys are well-trodden photography ground. I’ve spent countless hours aimlessly wandering around the city streets trying to find something that catches my eye. Because the city of Lancaster missed out on most of the bland urban renewal in the latter decades of the 20th century, there’s lots of interesting older architecture tucked in the nooks and crannies of the city, as well as a fair amount of peeling paint and crumbling bricks. These are subjects I’ve visited, revisited, and re-re-visited so many times that if I was their party guest, they’d be yawning and telling me how they have to get up early the next morning.
This is all to say I wasn’t particularly enthused about the crop of photos I turned out after a recent photowalk with the Lancaster County Photo Meetup Group. The social part of the outing was pleasant, as it was nice to catch up with some of the members, most of whom I hadn’t seen in more than two years (for obvious reasons.) Unfortunately, the actual photography part of the day left me a little dejected and feeling very out of practice creatively.
But were my uninspiring results because I have mined this particular location too often, or is there something else at play? Is photography like any other skill, prone to atrophy with neglect? Most of the photography I do these days tends to be action-oriented, which I think requires different types of skills and an entirely different photographic mindset.
In terms of my lack of photographic success on this day, I would lean more toward the side of me being a little rusty rather than subject over-familiarity. Photography may be “just like riding a bike” in terms of knowledge and execution, but from a creativity standpoint, your first few times back in the saddle may be a little wobbly.