I spent a few days in Nashville back in June, and while I spent time shooting the big stuff (I caught a great sunset with the skyline, for example), I also spent some time exploring the back alleys and offbeat sections of town for new, different and interesting things to look at.
I found some.
I am a fan of shooting the overlooked stuff as much as I am a fan of shooting the big stuff. I love doing both, actually. The difference is that everyone shoots the big stuff, so it's hard to be original. You may get a great sunset somewhere that makes a difference, but usually you are still taking a shot that has been done a hundred times or more.
And of course there is nothing wrong with taking that same shot. I do it all the time, and think you should do it. You definitely want to get that shot for yourself, right? You just gotta have it. Heck, I even reshoot places that I have shot several times before. I don't have any problem with revisiting a spot multiple times. Conditions are always different.
But you see, I get equal amounts of enjoyment from wandering around in places that you never really see photos of, because it's not famous. And it's not that I want to go do something original (though I hope I come away with something good), but rather that I just find the offbeat stuff interesting - and I want to shoot stuff that I find interesting.
That's what drives me when I am out with the camera.
I also find that this is a great creative exercise. You force yourself to look for things of interest, or to shoot bland things in an interesting way. Instead of having the beauty forced upon you (like the skyline of Nashville, shot from the Shelby Street Pedestrian Bridge - which is an amazing view, and I spent an evening shooting it because it's awesome, even though I have shot it probably 5 times already), you have to go find it yourself. You have to work for the shot. You have to expand your creative vision and how you define beauty and interest. In other words, you have to be an artist, and that's what this is all about to me.
So when I was in Nashville, I spent some time wandering some alleys and empty streets, and came home with the photos you see here today. While they are not your typical photos of the lovely city of Nashville (and it is a beautiful place), they do show you a part of it that maybe you haven't seen, or didn't know about.
Did I succeed in expanding my creative thinking and capturing something average in an above-average way? Maybe, maybe not. That's up to you to decide. But I tried, and that's what I always want to be able to say: that I tried. That I invested in my creativity, win or lose.
I encourage people to get out and see things all the time (and to bring the camera of course!), and I encourage people to also explore the overlooked or forgotten spots, and to try and get creative with it. These spots can be endlessly interesting too, and you are more likely to have them to yourself, since everyone else is off shooting the big stuff. So go have fun with it!