The Daily Artisan is all about encouraging us to be more creative in our daily lives and making oneself the artisan of our own life. You don’t have to be a painter or writer or dancer or photographer or sculptor or musician to be creative.
You just need to find ways to create your version of your creativity!
A life lived creatively is a more fulfilled life as we bring our unique interests and talents to bear through self expression, problem solving, hobbies, and relaxation. When you accept there isn’t just one right way to do these things, you open a world of possibilities within yourself.
It’s something I’ve been thinking about lately, and I have a good example for what I mean by creating your version of your creativity.
Some years back when I became interested in macro photography, I approached it the way I do most all things new. I bought books. Lots of books. I read books. Lots of books. I spent time – lots of time – researching macro photography and the way it should be done.
Now don’t get me wrong, I think it’s important to understand the why and the how behind things, especially with something new. The technical aspects and lessons learned from others provide an important foundation of knowledge and understanding. For example, I needed to learn about necessary equipment like the Nikon macro camera lens I bought for this type of photography.
However, in the process you shouldn’t lose sight of the fact that it’s about your creativity, your vision, your voice.
I didn’t go so far as to write out notes on index cards for how to do macro photography, but I could have. And, my first shooting experiences out in the field went pretty much like clockwork.
Turns out clockwork isn’t always all that interesting or inspiring.
My early macro photographs were technically okay as I followed the “rules” as I’d researched them. I was using the purist definition for macro shots, and doing everything possible to mirror what the books had told me. I’d read about the definition as shooting something larger than its true life, for example a bug’s antennae. I can’t tell you how many tiny bugs I searched out determined to photograph their tiniest parts!
And when I got home at the end of the days and reviewed my shots, they were okay. They looked kind of like what the books had shown. Magnified bug parts. Sometimes sort of blurry backgrounds. Hmmm.
Problem was that they could have been any bug part in any bug chapter in a macro photography book.
These were not the photographs I wanted to make. They seemed more science than art, and I wanted to feel things both when I shot the pictures and when I looked at them later. I knew what kind of photographs were in my heart, and I had to get out of my head to find them.
What I really wanted was to do big colors – push bold and subtle colors to their limits – and capture a juxtaposition of detail and blur. I wanted to be fully present in the moment, not as an observing scientist but as someone catching beauty and the emotions we feel when we see it.
There are amazingly talented macro photographers and I enjoy looking at their work. And occasionally, I’ll maybe – possibly – sometimes – come close to shooting a true macro photograph. But what I’m really passionate about is shooting my version of my creativity.
For me, this means a closeup shot of something with a beautiful, out-of-focus background or foreground in pleasing and interesting colors. I’ve posted previously about the bokeh effect, that blurred background with spots of light altered in dramatic ways. The purist bokeh philosophy considers it truly successful when there are creamy, circular shapes.
I break that rule also. I want different shapes and amorphous blobs, not just circles. I want the feeling of colors my way, my version of my creativity.
Some photographers will create a bokeh effect inserted with computer software after the photograph is taken, and there’s nothing wrong with this. It’s just not the way I want to do it. I don’t think I would feel the way I do when I take a field photograph if it was only half the experience – and later that night I’d be sitting in front of a computer working post-processing magic to pull in a background that while technically correct, wasn’t my experience while shooting the picture.
It all goes to that “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder” idea, and I think this is true. But if we don’t see something emotional or beautiful in our own work, I think it’s unlikely anyone else will either. I know that in my photographs, I want to capture something that feels dreamy – and evokes a memory or thought of someone or something, or an emotion like love or happiness or broken-heartedness or kindness.
I want to feel colors.
So I would say, in your pursuits, create your version of your creativity. Do it on your terms with those gifts and passions that uniquely and creatively are yours! This truly is living the life of The Daily Artisan!
What creative pursuits have you made your own? What did you learn about yourself in the process? Please comment below!