Photographic dreams

When I’ve been doing quite a lot of intense photography, I find I suffer from strange photographic dreams. There are far worse dreams I could have, but these photographic dreams are particularly frustrating because it’s in the dreams that I seem to be making my best pictures!


There isn’t really a beginning or end to the dream, I just suddenly become aware that I am taking pictures. There’s always a wonderful supply of subjects right on hand without having to wander around for hours. It feels like I’ve walked into ‘photo land’ where every street is amazing and filled with great-looking people who want to be photographed. I’m snapping away and saying all the right things and the people are really responsive and the backdrops are amazing and I know the pictures I’m getting are fantastic.

I’m fully aware all this is a dream, and I keep telling myself to remember this stuff and put it into practice, try to remember the framing, the angles, the expressions, etc. However, when I wake up it’s all gone. All that remains is the memory that I had a dream in which I was very energised, and taking amazing photographs, one after the other.

Apparently William Eggleston has similar dreams, so I know I’m not alone:

Often…I have these.. I call them ‘photographic dreams.’ They’re just one beautiful picture after another – which don’t exist. A short time later I don’t remember them. I just remember being very happy during the dream… Always in color.

I wonder how many other photographers experience these.

2 thoughts on “Photographic dreams

  1. Dreams are your brain’s way of processing information previously gathered but whilst you are in a semi conscious state. I believe it is the time when ideas are formed. I have periods of intense dreaming and some great ideas (including similar dreams to yourself) and periods of nothing. It is the periods of nothing that I fear more. I too am a photographer and the visual part of our world is important to us. We see the world in more detail because we scrutinise everything we see not just through the camera viewfinder. Consequently we have more data to process when we are resting. Dreams are a necessary part of the process. One thing I find useful is to write those ideas down. And one day you could be creating the masterpieces you once dreamt about…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. In the morning when I wake up I can’t really remember anything about them. I will try to wake myself up mid-dream and write a few notes next time!

      Liked by 1 person

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