Bored photographer seeks inspiration

I have a terrible confession: I’m bored with my city.

“I feel like there’s nothing to shoot here,” I told my friend Craig today after we’d spent an hour strolling through the old milling district, cameras in hand.

I brooded a bit as I drove home. “Must find a way to live in Europe for a while,” I thought for the umpteenth time. Then another thought interrupted: “But you’re here now. Why not make the best of it?”

It did wonders for my mood to revisit some of my photos from the past couple of months.

Fall colors in Lauderdale

Waiting for his event at the Minnesota State Fair

An abandoned grain elevator near the University of Minnesota

Fall leaves at Como Park in St. Paul

The Minnesota Twins’ stadium, from the top of the IDS building

Christmas 2012, as seen from inside the IDS building

The view during an evening drive into town

Squirrel riding a bicycle (God help us)

A fitting reminder, from today’s walk with Craig

Upon further reflection, I’ve realized that I’m bored because I’ve stopped seeing my city through curious eyes. And that’s where you can help.

Assuming that (a) you’ve ever heard of Minnesota, and (b) you would ever entertain a visit, what would you most be curious about? Send me on assignment! This bored photographer could use some inspiration.


    • Good question, Elmer! Though maybe I should clarify: I’m not *completely* bored with my city … just bored of taking photos here. But I’ll get over it. Like they say, the first step is to admit that you have a boredom problem. πŸ™‚ Thanks for reading, and especially for taking the time to comment!

  1. Since you live in one of the “Twin Cities” maybe you could do a project on twins; and to make it more interesting, try not to limit yourself to human siblings. Just a thought.
    BTW: Having just spent 40 days in Europe, trawling through 9 countries and shooting thousands of frames, I was pretty deflated by my haul of images. In Rome, I met a professional photographer who told me that he didn’t take a camera with him when he went on holiday; and by the end of our trip, I could understand why (although the Scot in me demanded that I have something to show for the money I’d spent, even if the show itself was unimpressive). So, I’ve spent the weeks since my return trying to understand why I no longer like the photographs I take – and I don’t think geography has anything to do with it. πŸ™‚

    • Thank you SO much, Xpat! With a single sentence, you’ve already filled my head with ideas. But the one I’m going to pursue in your honor is to find historic buildings in both cities that look alike. I already have my first subject, in fact …. THANK YOU!

      As for your dislike of your own photos, well, I understand only too well. I felt that way after getting back from my last trip, and I beat myself up over it for about a month. Then a friend gave me some very sage advice: Let the photos sit for a few weeks. And he was right; now I’m finding a few frames I don’t think are half bad. I hope you’ll have the same experience … and I also hope you’ll consider posting a few so your loyal readers can give you some positive reassurance that you haven’t lost your eye. πŸ™‚

  2. Your next assignment, if you so choose to accept it, would be to go out in your city and photograph the alphabet! Find things, any thing that resembles an “A”, then find something that looks like a “B”, and so on. That should keep you busy for a little while! Then, you can make a collage of your alphabet from A to Z, or use them to spell out someone’s name. Great gift idea too! πŸ™‚

  3. Monopoly ! πŸ™‚
    I’m guessing that Monopoly is such an old and long surviving board game that it’s in Minneapolis too. I was looking though my London posts and remembered my promise to myself that one day I’m going to “do” London as a Monopoly board, visiting each place mentioned on the board and taking my own photos.
    Recently they’ve started making Monopoly games of other cities, I’ve seen an Oxford version in one of the Oxford gift shops using streets from Oxford instead of London, it’s a good idea.
    Do you have a Minneapolis Monopoly ? If not, why not ? and again, why not go out with your camera and “do” Minneapolis as the Monopoly board would ?

    • … and another GREAT idea! Thank you, Sallyann. This one will require a bit of research, but it could be great fun. Thanks so much.

  4. Ooooeeeee interesting!!!! I’ve heard of Minnesota, but have no idea what there is to see…. So, I turned to my trusty friend ‘Tripadvisor’!! Here is a link to 16 of Minneapolis’ landmarks worthy of tourists… I challenge you to photograph these landmarks from interesting/different perspectives to what you would usually see!!!

    This is such a cool idea – I know where you are coming from though…. No Fun!!! 😦 Good luck H!! I hope someone suggests something that prickles your interest!! πŸ™‚ **

    • You are the best! Thank you for the link … I enjoyed browsing the first few pages and realizing that I’ve been to the vast majority of these places β€” but not in a long while, for some of them. Sounds like it’s time to play tourist for a day or two, and see what happens. Thanks so much for reading, and especially for your thoughtful comment. Cheers from the Minneapple! πŸ™‚

  5. I know the feeling! I am bored with mine at the moment, although it’s wonderful and historic and quirky and getting all Christmassed up.
    But I LOVE your fire hydrant in the middle of what seems to be a field! I ‘collect’ fire hydrants, so my assignment would be for you to show us some more of the range of Minneapolis fire hydrants.

    • You collect fire hydrants? How marvelous! Are you most interested in their small details, or do you prefer to see them in context with their surroundings? Either way, I will be very honored to add to your “collection.”

      As for you … how about sharing some photos of your own wonderful, historic and quirky home? I miss Scotland and would love to see her again. πŸ™‚

  6. Your readers have come up with some really creative suggestions already, and I’m afraid I can’t match them. I am woefully ignorant of Minneapolis. Personally I think you’re off to a great start with the squirrel, and the dusk shot of driving into the city, and that rather gorgeous backside πŸ˜‰ (reminds me of Springsteen’s ‘Born in the USA’ tour poster, which I used to have on my wall at boarding school!).

    My only idea is, how about the people of the city? What are the main ethnic groups? The incredible mix of races and ethnic histories is one of the things I find fascinating about the States. If religion is a big thing, what are the churches/ synagogues/ mosques – and their pastors – like? What are the favourite leisure activities – could you photograph people in the audience at a stadium/ concert/ mall (!)/ racetrack? We outlanders could learn a lot about the city through meeting a few of the inhabitants. Plus it’s something that we already know you’re good at – charming strangers and getting them to relax for the camera! πŸ™‚

    • You are so marvelous, DB! You’re right that some of my other readers have offered excellent and very interesting suggestions. But I love yours very much as well β€” and it’s every bit as creative! My employer gives me a day off each year to explore a diversity-related topic or project. I think I just found it. Thank you, thank you!

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