Forces of Nature

If you ever have doubts about your life—you’re at the wrong job, with the wrong mate, you need to radically change your personality, etc; just log onto Facebook or the social media platform of your choice and you’re sure to find that your doubts are well-founded.

You’ll be told how to think. What affirmations to use. How to visualize your perfect life, etc.

Or, if you’re like me and still have all these doubts, but have done all the self improvement crap and realized that most of it is crap, you might be lucky enough to just stop and realize how lucky you are. And in that realization you might be lucky enough to accept the messes that we are and move on.

What does this have to do with photography? This is life and photography is part of life. Photography is one way for us to be creative and this is about being creative. How does one be creative? There are lots of theories about independent thought and not following the crowd, but that’s all looking at it from the outside. And just like self-improvement from the outside is ultimately unsatisfactory, so is creativity from the outside. We can’t do creativity. We can’t follow certain rules to be creative.

I think of creativity as a lot like love. You don’t affirm yourself into love, though I’m sure we’ve all tried it; we fall in love. We don’t make ourselves creative—we’re naturally creative. We just stop doing uncreative things like thinking about being creative and let creativity arise.

I was lucky enough to do a workshop with Galen Rowell a year before his untimely death. He taught us how to see like film, how to use split neutral density filters and such, all things that I already knew. I didn’t learn any techniques at the workshop; I got so much more: I got to spend time with a truly creative person. I saw a person so confident in his creative self that he just ran with it without looking back. I spent time with a force of nature.

When Galen was out with his camera, you could say he worked very hard, but it wasn’t what we call work. It wasn’t drudgery. He wasn’t working on being more open to his surroundings. He wasn’t working on being a better photographer. He was just letting his creativity come out and take him over. In being around him I too chose to trust myself more and just let my creativity flow.

How do we allow ourselves to be more creative? Being creative is not something that we do. It’s natural for us. What we can do or at least observe is how we stop ourselves from being creative. How we try too much. How we over-criticize ourselves, how we try to limit and protect ourselves.

Go out and be creative. Make mistakes. Get embarassed. Feel stupid; but don’t let any of it get to you. Keep going.

~ by danbaumbach on February 11, 2018.

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