Re-entry to 'ordinary life' can be difficult after a deeply personal experience such as a photo workshop based on creativity, community and artistic/emotional vulnerability rather than technical knowledge. If your workshop also included travel outside of your own culture it can be even harder. You have changed but the world around you back home has not. You want to share your new growth but others may want you to stay the same. Here are some ways to continue to live your art:

-Find or start a support network of like-minded photographers

-Avoid photo groups more interested in cameras and equipment than self expression

-Be very careful of who you take criticism from! Consider the source...

-Explore your own motives for why and who you want to share your work with

-Nurture artist and artist-friendly friendships, especially from other disciplines

-Find a mentor. Meet with him or her at regularly scheduled intervals.

-Take yourself on an ‘artist’s date’ (see Julia Cameron/The Artist's Way)

-Go to galleries and museums. Look at paintings and other art forms

-Go to the public library and look at art and photo books

-Read a book from the recommended book list

-Re-read "Art and Fear" by Bayles and Orland

-Google the work of photographers on the reading list

-Use 'Shots' magazine upcoming submission themes as your next assignment and deadline

-Plan photo outings with specific, predetermined themes

-Give yourself specific assignments

-Mine your previous work for themes, then turn those themes into projects

-Have a timetable and deadline for those assignments or projects

-Set up an exhibit of your work. Deadlines can be amazing creativity energizers!

-Set up a group exhibit, with a theme, for your artists group

-Set up an exhibit with members of your workshop

-Join an existing Flicker or photo-sharing group

-Start a Flicker or photo-sharing group with members of your workshop

-Publish a Blurb or Apple book of your workshop photos and experience

-Start an ideas or creativity journal. Write about your process, progress and struggles

-Re-visit and re-work workshop assignments

-Re-visit the writing exercises from class

-Have something to look forward to: visit the Vision Quest website and sign up for a future workshop!


  1. Thanks, Doug, for great suggestions. I have printed and will use for what I always hope to be a gentle re-entry. I know from past experiences, good and bad, that it's an important part of the process.

  2. Thanks for putting the list in your notes on this topic in the workshop were incomplete and my re-entry has been so total and abrupt that I haven't gotten around to asking for the list. Just reading the list is giving me inspiration and ideas, though.

  3. Thank you for the list - I really hadn't considered re-entry but it slapped me into reality right off the bat - your list will allow me to keep one foot in the woods with you & my group