Finding inspiration in the tiniest of details

You’re looking for the next thing – the next line to your book or poem, the next clip for your video, the next word for a tweet, the next chord to a song – and nothing is coming to mind.

Creative block feels like a dead end, like there’s nowhere to go from here.

But what if, instead of stopping in our tracks when we reach the block, we focus on the details of what’s in front of us now? Magnify what it is we’re working on to see the details and expose them as the very thing that comes next.

Undoubtedly the best thing about magnification is that it’s nearly infinite.

Nathan Manire looked at the details of our skin, with the tiny dots of pigmentation, and zoomed in on them to create stunning dot portraits.

Then there’s photographer Ian Ruhter who looked at the relatively small size of today’s cameras and ended up turning a truck into a giant, mobile camera for producing large, wet plate photos while traveling.

Ian’s photos focus on the details, because of their large size and the difficulty in both capturing and printing them. The details are what matter to Ian and his team.

Or take artists Andy Miller & Andrew Neyer, who wanted to focus on the details of the tools used to create art rather than the art itself. So they created a great 24 ft mural in a studio and then invited people to color the mural themselves with 5 ft markers.

The result was that zooming in on the markers (and then zooming back out to make the magnified markers life-size) created a fun and inspirational piece of artwork. Watch the video to see how it all came together.

Whatever your work is: if you’re feeling stuck, look at the details. Zoom in and magnify them. Whatever you find there can help you to get unstuck and keep working. Go!