Saturday, July 14, 2012

The Secret Life of Trees

"I am affected by a visual experience - it is meaningful and beyond articulation.  When I look at a tree, I cannot forget the invisibles - the ants, the water system inside the tree, the birds, the insects and other animals who depend on the tree for shelter and food.  I try to make the invisibles felt.  I have a deep empathy with nature, and when I am photographing her I feel a certain communion.  I feel in love."
Ruth Bernhard
American Photographer ( 1905 – 2006)

Think about the secret life of a tree ("the invisibles") when you make a photograph of a tree and consider how your image can reflect this magical inner life that is present in most living things.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Abstract Photography Exploration

Let me share Exploration 3 on Abstract Photography from the chapter on A Whole New Perspective in The Creative Photographer with you today as it is a great exploration to take on during the summer when you might be taking time to look at life differently!

Ordinary things take on different dimensions when we focus on the details or photograph from unusual angles to highlight shapes and lines, or color, pattern, and texture.  The resulting images may not remind you (or the viewer) of anything you know, but it will engage your brain as you try to make sense of what you are seeing.  Viewing abstract imagery engages our vision in a different way.  I believe our creativity is expanded when we see things we have to think about, without knowing exactly what they are.

Take the opportunity to focus on things that draw you in, that make no sense as conventional photographs, but that speak to you through their shape, color, pattern, or some other abstract element. One has to employ careful observation to discover an effective abstract image in the multifaceted world we live in.

What abstract elements appeal to your senses?

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

This Summer take your Camera on an Artist Date

The Exploration on page 44 of The Creative Photographer suggests that you take your camera on an Artist Date. I first learned of this idea from the book The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron.  Julia suggests that one should always go on an artist's date alone.  I like to think of my camera as an extension of myself and an artist's date as a kind of play date with myself and my camera.

The photographer version of the Artist Date is an outing where you go not to take "good" photographs, but to just experience being in an interesting place where you can observe everything around you and become more aware and sensitive to your surroundings.  Yes, you might go home with many new images, and perhaps these new images will serve as inspiration for you in some way, but the main objective of the outing is to experience time with yourself and become present to the moment and everything around you.  By giving yourself permission to take these outings you will expand your creative horizons and you will begin to think of yourself as an artist. In addition you will come to understand that time alone with no expectations of yourself to achieve anything profound, is an extremely important part of the creative process.

You can also expand this idea into something a little different by asking a group of friends to bring their cameras and come along with you.  Pack a picnic lunch and head off on a road trip, stopping whenever you see something you would like to photograph. It is my experience that when you are seeing the world through the lens of your camera you are in a world of your own and very often forget you are with other people.  You can also plan a trip to a specific location and draw up a list of things you will all photograph.  Each of you can then take time on your own exploring this location with your camera, re-grouping after a couple of hours to share photographs over a cup of tea or coffee. If you photographed from a list you will notice how everyone experienced seeing things in such different ways.