That Dirty Word

We’re tough here in the US. We don’t run; we fight. We’re no nation of wimps. As photographers, we get the shot. We nail it. We’ll stay up nights in freezing rain at 12,000 feet, but we’ll get it.

I’m going to talk about a concept that is an anathema to the “American Way”. It’s called Surrender.

When I speak of surrender, I’m not talking about our lying down and having people walk over us. I’m talking laying down all that keeps us from being open and responsive.

Take gratitude. Gratitude is very in vogue these days. Gratitude is good. We feel good and peaceful when we feel grateful. Well, in order to feel gratitude, we have to lay down all our striving and hunger that tells us that things aren’t good enough as they are and surrender into gratitude.

Take love. Those of us who’ve been fortunate enough to have some good relationships know that love is not a competitive sport. It’s not about getting more. It’s about letting go of “my needs” and surrendering to our true nature which isn’t greed or competitiveness, but love.

All right, alright: finally I’ll talk about photography. Surrender is key to any kind of creativity and that includes photography

We choose a location, we choose a time, and we bring certain equipment with us when we go out to take photographs because we have some idea of what we want to photograph and what kinds of photographs we want to take.

What if the light doesn’t turn out the way we expected? What if there’s too much wind? What if the sunrise/sunset is a dud? We can be disappointed or angry and go home, or we can surrender. Even if all the conditions turn out the way we want them to, it would be better if we surrendered.

By surrender I mean dropping all the mental crap about what we’re trying to accomplish. Surrender our desires that tell us what a successful day shooting will consist of. Surrender everything in our minds that keeps us from being where we are and responding to what’s in front of us.

So now our minds are relatively quiet and we can see clearly and respond to what we see. Now we’re ready to take photographs. Maybe we see something we didn’t plan on photographing but looks more compelling. Let’s go for it. Maybe it’s too windy so we have to look for stationary objects. Lets go for it. Maybe the sky looks awesome. Lets go for it.

Who knows what will grab our attention when we’re able to see and respond. Lets go for it.

I was planning of photographing ice this morning, but the sky was so interesting I managed to squeeze this out between the trees.

~ by danbaumbach on January 10, 2018.

4 Responses to “That Dirty Word”

  1. and a totally spectacular photograph !

  2. I worked with a creativity coach, Pattie Ann Hale, who wrote in her book Journeyartfully, “Creativity is actually about surrendering.” Six years ago this spring, I surrendered to my husband’s big dream to bicycle across America for 90 days. I laid my life down and went along to drive the truck, pull the trailer, cook for him , and take photos on auto with a camera I did not understand. He came back and returned to work; I came back totally caught up in creativity. I am forever changed because I surrendered to the dream of another and let go of the controls. How do I find out about your workshop?

    • Thank you Marlee. I have general details under the workshop heading on this blog. I expect to send out an announce in the beginning of March and start collecting deposits. If you want to be on the workshop mailing list, give me your email.

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