I’ve been obsessed with process, both in personal and professional applications, for as long as I can remember. If something has a process, to me, that must mean it has order and it’s therefore easier to wrap my head around. But that isn’t the case with photography and any artistic endeavor that requires a creative “process.”
Often, the creative process is mysterious, subjective and highly personal. So much so, that you’ve got to wonder, can it really be described as process after all? Maybe there’s a better word for it.
Or, maybe it’s that I actually prefer procedure over process. Procedure is structured and formulaic and ordered, especially when compared to process. In which case, the creative process that is art and writing and photography all wrapped up in one lovely package (AKA this blog or the act of blogging), continues to take me out of my comfort zone. Maybe that’s what I really enjoy about this whole process 😉
Anyway, that’s enough deep thought for me at 11pm on a weeknight! Let’s get to these quotes, which do tie back to creative process. Promise. 🙂
1. Continue to improve, always
Anyone who isn’t embarrassed of who they were last year probably isn’t learning enough.
– Alain de Botton
Can you think back to what you were doing a year ago today? What you created, what you put out into this world? Who you were? How you acted? How does it make you feel? Well, embarrassment is a good thing! It means you’re growing and changing for the better.
And I’ve learned a lot from blogging over the past year. I sure as heck am embarrassed by my earliest food photos and blogs. Please don’t go looking for them! 🙂
2. Constraints, in art, are good
The best camera is the one you have with you.
– Lindsay Ostrom (Pinch of Yum)
Recently, I’d decided I needed a new camera (or so I thought). After a slew of research and still not knowing what to do, I remembered Lindsay’s quote.
Instead of getting a new camera, I decided I would work on really truly utilizing my old Nikon D70s (which I hadn’t been doing to the fullest extent). Manual exposure, manual focus, the whole shebang. I did cave and buy a 35mm lens, though, and it’s suuuuch a good lens and for a pretty decent price, too!
This also led me to start experimenting with some vintage film lenses I’d had tucked away in my closet for more years than I want to admit. 😉 Did you know you can use virtually any film lens on a digital Nikon camera body? Well you can! <3
Working with what you’ve got means working with constraints and restrictions, but I’ve found those are absolutely necessary to spark creativity. To find that perfect angle for your shot. To really go the extra mile to make or do something you’re truly proud of at the end of the day. So worth it.
Whether it’s money or space or equipment or a combination of the three, view them as an opportunity to get creative instead of a restriction keeping you from doing what you love.
3. And then there’s this one
Photography is painting with light.
This one’s just so simple and eloquent and I really, really love it. I’d also argue that without shadow, none of this would work at all. You absolutely need both light and shadow to compose a great shot. Lately, I’ve been trying to emphasize shadows in my photographs because they really add so much wonderful contrast to the final piece. It’s not easy, though!
So, what’s the takeaway here?
If you find an activity that makes you happy, consider yourself lucky.
And don’t forget to go with it. Keep doing it. Don’t hold back. Give yourself to it completely. Put those positive vibes out there into the world and see what happens. Because chances are you’ll be rewarded in some way, big or small.
I’m curious about how you explore your own creative process. Do you go all in with something you’ve found and love? Do you hold back and why? How do you deal with restrictions and constraints? Have any great quotes you live by? I hope you’ll share!