Have you ever wondered what a photographer is trying to say with her photographs?
Just as a writer needs to develop an idea before she sits down to her computer to write the next great American novel; a photographer also needs to be clear about the message she is trying to convey though her image.
This week I am wrapping up a 12 week on-line visual journaling workshop guided by Kim Manley Ort and Sally Drew. The goal of the workshop was to develop the skills needed to become more self-aware of my thoughts, emotions and photographic voice, and learn how it affects the images I make.
This workshop took me beyond the technical into 12 weeks of introspection. I examined the metaphors and symbols found in my images and uncovered themes, patterns and the universal messages hidden within the pixels. It seemed simple enough until the question was asked, “Why do I take photographs?” This seems like a easy question, but not so fast.
What I discovered is that I had no idea what I was trying to say with my photographs. Was I just clicking away willy-nilly, or was there a clear intent or vision to my images? It took weeks for me to wade through my images and the thoughts that lay behind them, but finally a golden thread appeared.
One of my final assignments was to write an “Artist Statement”. OY! This was no small task. To make it even more difficult, I needed to whittle it down to just a few sentences. After several false starts, I began to weave that golden thread into the very fabric of my being.
To understand the method of my madness, I offer you my Artist Statement:
Alice had her looking glass, I have my camera.
Just as Alice wanted to escape her reality, at times, so do I. By placing my camera up to my eye, I am suddenly propelled into a magical kingdom filled with phantasmagorical colors and shapes, curiously awash in enchanted light. I try to capture nature’s hidden realms that are privy only to those with inquisitive eyes. My job is to create a space I can escape to, finding a momentary respite in which I can finally breathe. Welcome to my space.
“I’m not strange, weird, off, nor crazy, my reality is just different from yours.”
Lewis Carroll, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland
The wonder of it all is what astounds me, perhaps you feel the same. As illustrated by these simple pussy willows, moistened by the morning dew; enchantment takes hold.
We all have our creative pursuits, whether it’s photography, writing, painting, cooking, gardening, or whatever. Next time you have that creative urge, ask yourself, “Why am I doing this? What do I want it to say about me?”
If you are up for the challenge, begin by being intentional, starting with your voice.
Live in color,
Thank you, Kim and Sally, for gently guiding me to the self-reflection required to become more creative. To find out more about this workshop and others click onto:http://www.kimmanleyort.com/blog/