Just Slow Down and See

We live in such a Me-centered world. Everyone is “Going for it”, “Having it all”, and “Creating Success and Prosperity”.

What a bunch of arrogant schmucks we are. We humans, especially we white anglos, have a lot of power and can do a lot with it. We don’t have to look far to see the positive and unfortunately negative consequences of our power and arrogance.

However this fantasy of “Having it all” and “Creating our success and prosperity” is even over the top for us.

I think we fortunate humans who try to make art — artists and artist wannabees — realize how little is actually under our egoic control.

We can’t just be creative because we want to be, turning it on and off at will. Creativity is actually a result of surrender. Creativity occurs when we allow it to occur by letting all our other desires fade to the background.

I’m not talking about something unknown to us here. I make a living as a programmer, one of the most left-brain professions one could have, and yet every programmer I talk to nods their head and knows what I’m talking about when I talk about mulling over a difficult problem all day and how the solution automatically comes to me when I’ve left work and I’m walking to my car.

Being an arrogant, white anglo myself I am constantly humbled and consequently immensely grateful to have the very good fortune to have creativity come to me whether invited or uninvited.

This was made acutely aware to me on Thanksgiving morning. I drove out to Eldorado Canyon that morning under a beautiful sunrise. I wanted to be there post-sunrise to catch the beautiful reflections of the canyon in South Boulder Creek. When I arrived at “Eldo”, the Sun was up but already going behind some clouds. I wandered along the creek “trying” to make photos, but without the beautiful golden reflections I didn’t feel very inspired. When it was clear there would be no sun for some time, I gave up and put my attention on the trees. Again I didn’t feel I was getting much but I would try to make photographs of things that looked interesting to me.

I wandered around for awhile not being very satisfied with anything, and finally gave up and went home. As I was taking my camera off of the tripod, I noticed that I had mistakenly set my camera to take tiffs instead of raw captures. Not only did I not take any good photos, I’d have even fewer options to work with them now. At least they weren’t jpegs.

This is the arrogant knowledgeable photographer speaking: “I know what I want. I know what I’m looking for,” and so forth.

Well, whether I deserved it or not, the Creativity Gods sure paid me a visit this morning. I’m very conscious of not wanting to copy another photographer or even just copy myself so apparently being thrown out of my comfort zone really worked. I realized that I composed these images, set the lens opening and shutter speed but beyond that I can’t take any credit for these photographs. They really happened in spite of myself.

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~ by danbaumbach on November 28, 2014.

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