Wednesday, July 24, 2013

The Importance of Being Regular - Photographically

Clearwater, FL Main Library Building

I have found that one of the most important things I do for my photography is to make sure I use my camera regularly. I try very hard to make at least a few exposures every day including a little bit of experimentation to stretch into new territory. This process breaks through creative blocks, ensures increasing familiarity with equipment, ingrains the habit of simply using a camera and promotes subconscious learning about what works and what does not work. Writing every day serves the same purposes for me.
Public Lighting, Leepa Rattner Museum of Art, Tarpon Springs, FL
Using a camera regularly also promotes the process of being a photographer as opposed to being a snap shot taker. Someone who calls themselves a writer but doesn't write anything daily or even weekly is not really a writer to most people. Anyone calling themselves painters that have one painting on the wall from five years ago and has not touched a brush for months cannot be considered a painter but is in reality an occasional dabbler. "Musicians" who never performs or even practices is only kidding themselves and others.
There are two main lines of thought on creativity: the first is that creativity is transient and we need to wait for ideas to strike before acting on them; the second is that creativity is always there and part of the process. I am very strongly in the second camp.
Osceola St. Public Lighting, Clearwater, FL
If I just doodle around doing other things because I don't happen to feel inspired to make photographs or am not feeling especially creative, nothing happens. If I get out a camera and lens and start taking photos, my mind-set changes just because I am doing the activity. Making a photo of a fence shadow on a wall will make me want to try another with both the shadow and the fence itself in the frame. I might then think that shooting from ground level with a wider lens and including a little sky in the frame will be more interesting. The next frame could then be just a small section of the shadow for a more minimalist/graphic look. This is where creativity almost always really comes from-the process, the actual doing. The process works the same way with writing for me. I have to sit down at the keyboard and start writing something, even if I don't know what I will write when I sit down, and it all builds from there into a finished piece.
Clearwater Marina, FL
If you just wait for inspiration to strike or creativity to fall on you from the sky, nothing gets done. If you start making photos or writing or painting, inspiration and creativity will join you. Sometimes it take them a while to find you but they almost always show up eventually. Even on the rare occasions when they do not appear you at least have gotten something done.

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