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I watched an interview the other day on American Idol of one musician trying to make the top 24. Jennifer Lopez and Randy Jackson both mentioned that the musical performance should come from the heart and translate how the artist feels about the particular piece of music rather than just being sung.
Photography is the same way. According to Scott Bourne of Photofocus in his article Five Steps to Finding the Freedom to be a Creative Photographer…
…go out to shoot with no purpose other than to express what you’re feeling at the moment. Don’t think about the future or the past. Just think about right now. How do you feel? What moves you? Shoot that.
Part of my process involves looking through older photos and remembering what I was feeling then and how much of that was captured in the photo and compare that to how I feel about that place now. Taking in the location, answering a few simple questions like: how has the location change, how has my feeling about the location changed and what is my feeling about the change itself helps in determining some possibilities for attempting to translate those answers into the my photography. And post photo shoot, looking at how well I translated those feelings into the frame, and if I am able to revisit, reframe accordingly.