The Tide of Creativity

Shenandoah

For some reason, summer has a habit of putting me in a creative lull. Anxiety generally begins to take its grip during the late Spring and it can take me well into the Autumn months before it feels like I do anything meaningful again. Apparently, I am not alone. In his unpublished work, Conscious Photography, Minor White suggested that:

“Creative work, for most people, has tides. There is a time to create, and a time to study. When the tide is out, the time is appropriate to study, to do exercises, and to read about photography and its related fields of art and human relations. When the tide comes in again, one has a new knowledge to apply to the creative force surge. To many photographers, the danger comes when the tide runs out: . . . If they have not learned creative discipline, or have no instinct to study and do exercises when the tide is out, they slow down….”.

When the tide began to recede I started to think about how I could use my “non-creative” time to grow my photography. As I have often written, I am a firm believer that the conscious decisions we make when pressing the shutter release or when moving Photoshop sliders this way or that are driven by our subconscious self, whether we know it or not. The process of discovery is not entirely by chance – it has to feel right. I have felt an increasing need to be more in touch with my inner thoughts, feelings, experiences and imagination to better understand why and how I connect with and respond to a scene and how I can extend that connection into post production during the creation of the final image. This, therefore became my summer goal. I put together my preliminary “reading list”, which included writings by the following master photographers whose work I admire and have connected with, for many reasons:

  • Edward Weston
  • Robert Adams
  • Paul Strand
  • Minor White

So, a few months ago I began a new journey of self-discovery, driven by the writings of the abovementioned, each of whom wrote key chapters in the big book of photography. However, it didn’t take me long to realize this cannot be a journey with a final destination, but rather one with several stopping off points. My summer goal is really a lifetime goal, and although sometimes overwhelming, I have built up a head of steam to help propel me forward. I am underway and looking forward to seeing if / how the thoughts and experiences of others will influence how I approach my own work once I feel creative again.

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1 comment

  1. Great thoughts and introspection…super goals….I think I am in slow down mode! My creativity has been interrupted with a change plan in living. But it will come back, sure as the horse shoe crabs return each spring. If it’s in your DNA there will always be ebbs and flows! Seasons …. Sometimes different subject matter can jumpstart the process.

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