Monday, December 01, 2008

reading deprivation part two

Looking back over the week, my initial feel was that I'd failed miserably at the reading deprivation aspect of the Artist's Way. I still read blogs, I still read books. But then as I thought about it further, I realised it had actually worked better than I thought. I did try to read less and also found I did free up more time to be creative. I took more pictures this week than I've taken for months. We went to a play, ate a great meal and I took a lot of pictures; just walking around the park, playing poker, Thanksgiving dinner and just messing around in the house. Point is that the more I've been journaling and thinking about my photography, the more photography I've finally started doing. It has all been very candid, fun and free flowing. The pictures give me a lot of pleasure and it is has been really rewarding.

The pictures are very different from what I would have taken years ago - I looked back at some pictures I took at family events 5 years ago. There are hardly any of the people in them. Lots of detail shots or pictures of where we were. There would be an occasional posed group shot of everyone together, but not much more than that. I think I'm taking more pictures of what matter to me now, rather than what I think people might want to see. Hopefully along the way I'm finding my way towards creating more authentic images that might actually have something to say. It is an enjoyable path.

I also had the chance to make some prints and give them away. If you haven't done this in a while, I really recommend it. Take some pictures of some friends or family and get some prints made, then give them the pictures. It doesn't need to cost much - 4x6 prints from a local pharmacy might be 30c, online prints are closer to 20c. They might not be the most artistic or high minded pictures you've ever made, but they'll probably be some of the more rewarding. I don't see finished prints so much any more and the print quality can be pretty good. I just edited the images in Lightroom, exported them as JPEG in sRGB colour mode and put them on a USB stick. Printing took 5 minutes and cost a few dollars. You may well have plenty of pictures you took at Thanksgiving - maybe the person who hosted the party might like a couple of shots? Or maybe someone else would - I'm sure you know who they are.

Concurrent with this burst of photography, I'm getting back to being able to exercise for more than a few minutes at a time. I think there is an explicit link between these two. Not just because I'm generally more mobile or happier, but finding time for periods of creative thought really helps make things happen. For me, that's usually when I'm exercising. For others it might be the time spent watching the leaves fall, or the hypnotic state you find when driving, or maybe on a long walk. For a few months there, I wasn't able to do any of those kinds of making space to think in my life. I'd be reading, or watching TV, lying on the couch playing video games, but never really finding the times where my body was busy and my mind could relax and come up with ideas.


Andreas said...

Wow, that's one disturbing image! Great :)

Unknown said...

thanks for the comment and compliment(I think it is...), Andreas. I don't really find it disturbing myself - but it is one of the more intriguing to me images that I took in the last few days.

I like the element of mystery in it.

Anonymous said...

I love this photo! Sometimes I subconsciously think of you when I'm taking out of focus, blurry, panning pics. I got a fabulous one over Thanksgiving. I'm tempted to turn it into my holiday card.

I also think it's a great idea to make more prints and also give people prints of themselves. Right before I took off on a Thanksgiving trip, I made all sorts of print piles and sent them out to various people. For one friend's baby shower, I showered her with two piles of photos, one for her to keep and one to send to friends and family who were there. I wanted to take maternity photos of her as a baby gift, but wasn't able to do it after all. It feels good to at least get her some photos that are memorable!

forkboy said...

It's funny how we sometimes need a gentle push in a new direction before we realize how many new opportunities there might be in said direction.

Making changes and mixing-it-up, whether it works or not, must help get the creative juices flowing and perhaps where one finds no luck in a new direction, it will lead to something else that is more productive?

Andreas said...

It's a compliment, of course :)

I said disturbing and that's for the complete reversal of our normal viewer's expectations. This image is so clearly picturing the dog and the focus is so clearly against it, that the result is puzzling and highly interesting.

I work a lot with shallow depth of field, seeing this as a very natural way of picturing things, but I can't remember any other image that centers so much on a subject that evades so strongly. This is a picture I'd be very proud of :)

Unknown said...

Ah yes, disturbing the natural order of things.

Andreas said...


doonster said...

Apropos of your comment at Paul Butzi's - it's not that I necessarily dislike the photo (undecided) but I do find it challenging, requiring of quite a lot of effort. It's not immediately appealing, which in some ways is the appeal.
I suppose that the blurring of the immediate subject is in direct conflict with the caveman instinct of assessing "prey or predator" that makes it so disturbing.