As artists what do we seek? We seek maximal creativity. Physiological power overwhelming, a blissful drunken Dionysian art-creation flow, and to just focus on your artistic creation and nothing else.
Creative photography is the goal. This means:
Seeing fewer boundaries between different ways of self expression though photography, staying inspired and motivated in your photography, and to always be shooting.
When it comes to photography, we must consider the subject, the subject matter of our photos, and how and why we photograph them.
Art… the future potentiality of making new art, discovering new art, or our curiosity in pursuing new art works … this is the great stimulus, hope, motivator and optimism in life!
What we are going for isn’t precise visual depiction, but a visual gist and impression. A visual impression:
What does the general visual movement, gist, and feeling … how does it embed itself into your own visual memory?
For example some Hokusai visual impressions I sketched in iPad and Procreate and some of my own images:
A good way to live life: only pursue that which interests you, and don’t pursue anything which doesn’t interest you.
Tell your own story and stories through your photos. Your photos and your photography is the medium (media) in which you communicate yourself.
Some thoughts on media:
Whenever I hear the concept of a “content creator” thrown around, I see it as a disparaging remark/insulting. Certainly when people say “I love the content you put out!” it is generally meant in a positive way. However … what we create isn’t mere “content”. I see “content” like the anonymous pink chicken nugget toothpaste sludge — not good.
I’ve also heard photographers justify their Instagram behavior by saying:
You must feed the beast (social media treadmill machine).
A subtle reframing:
See yourself as a PHOTO creator, and a substance creator … not just a “content creator”.
Or even more simply put, see yourself as a creator.
Some simple street photography assignments to get you going:
A word or concept which does not yet exist:
We have the term ‘minimalist’ in our modern vocabulary, but not ‘simplicicist’. Certainly the word ain’t as catchy, but I think the term is more accurate. Why?
It isn’t minimalism we are seeking, but it is the optimal simplicity we are seeking.
MUSE by KIM: the apex strap.
The art of editing your photos is the art of image selection; how to know which of your photos are the best and which photos to choose. Some thoughts:
For a long time, I always thought minimalism was the goal. Now I’m starting to realize that minimalism ain’t the goal, and it is a trap. Too many of us millenials fall victim to the “minimalism for minimalism sake” or “minimalism as a form of elite virtue-signaling”.
What the true goal is optimal simplicity. To choose the option(s) in life which are maximally simple and easy for you, in order to augment what you truly care for in your life, whether it be arts creation, creativity, time with friends and family, entrepreneurial ventures, etc.
I believe all photographers will benefit hugely from owning an iPad. Even the cheapest one is fine — only $329!
Why iPad? Well, after experimenting with all the different ways of editing and selecting flagging photos, I get the most joy from using iPad to look through my photos. Why?
I was thinking:
How much *should* you shoot in photography?
And my general thought:
The more you shoot, the better.
Also, if you want to make more interesting compositions in photography, you need to shoot a lot, and you need to shoot a lot of risky photos. One of the big downsides of film photography is sometimes we get too scared to “waste film”.
To shoot a lot is like exercise. The more you shoot, the more “reps” (repetitions) you get in. And there is also this myth of “the decisive moment”— that somehow these demigod photographers would get their great photos with just a single shot. And why this bravado that somehow nailing a great photo in one shot is better? We gotta get rid of this ridiculous romantic notion (all romantic notions are false to reality and bad).
Certainly there isn’t a certain quota of photos you should everyday, but at the same time, it doesn’t seem to hurt to shoot a lot of photos everyday. Lately I’ve been quite productive with shooting — around 800-1000 photos a day.
For myself, this seems to be beneficial. Shooting small JPEG, with high contrast monochrome or cross process filter on RICOH GR III seems to be great. Why? Small JPEG allows me to quickly import photos to my iPad or laptop, and allows me to upload quicker. Also, shooting pre-processed JPEG means less time having to post process.
Above all, it seems the more you shoot, the better. Why? Because the bias is typically we don’t shoot enough, because we are too much perfectionists. Also, we suffer from “paralysis by analysis”— we don’t shoot photos because we are worried the photos won’t be “interesting enough”, even though in our gut we want to.
I think I finally have this Henri Cartier-Bresson quote figured out:
The beauty of photography is that you can reveal beauty in even the smallest thing.
Or in other words:
All things, no matter how small can be beautiful.
Then it is simply your task as a photographer to strive to seek, discover, notice, and document these small beautiful details. In praise of capturing beauty in the mundane.
Why photography? It is the great affirmation of (new) life. I myself wouldn’t desire a life and existence without photography.
They typically have to do with your fear of negative judgements from others.
Good fear: fear which keeps you alive. For example my fear of dying if texting while driving, or walking on the street while texting.
Bad fear: fear of social chastisement which prevents me from pursuing my artistic and creative passions in life.
Good fears are mostly physiological; fear of a potentially early death, or permanent disfigurement (Nassim Taleb). Bad fears as mostly pertaining to how you live your life— your lifestyle choices, your artistic modes of self expression, etc.
Some quick creative motivational ideas to get you going:
The basic idea:
Your best creative ideas will come *INDIRECTLY* to you.
Your creative ideas are best when you are creatively ‘promiscuous’ — you disregard borders, boundaries, and genres. You draw creative nectar and honey from *any* creative source which inspires and turns you on!
Just because you’ve already done it once doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it again. Eternal and perpetual creativity is the goal:
If we think about humanity, there is an innate instinct for us to procreate. The natural sexual drive of both men and women in order to create children. Certainly without the will to procreate, humanity would have died off a long time ago.
Then what makes me think:
How can we channel this desire to procreate in a positive and productive way? To channel this desire into our arts creation and to not demonize this innate powerful drive we have within ourselves?
To not demonize the sexual drive, but trying to figure out how we can harness this physiological power to our advantage?
Is our desire as artists to procreate art works rooted from the sexual desire to procreate children and new life?
If we extrapolate this “via negativa” concept to productivity and motivation the question to ponder:
What kills our motivation? And what “un-inspires” us?
Perhaps the best way to become a “better” photographer is mostly through the negative (Nassim Taleb). For example:
- To make better compositions, best to *SUBTRACT* and try to get rid of the distracting elements.
- To be more motivated, best to GET RID of social media (delete your Instagram) instead of seeking more followers and more likes.
- More photo opportunities by subtracting color options (in praise of monochrome).
Perhaps this notion of having “positive role models” is not useful. Why?
We often put the personalities, characteristics, and pursuits of certain individuals as *above* us. For example, we all want to become more like Steve Jobs, Elon Musk, etc. However … is this truly something to be desired? Instead of seeking to become someone else, or to emulate the personality character traits of others, better instead to look at yourself, your own innate personality traits and to see your own self and your own personality as king.
Then when it comes to other humans, instead of seeking “positive role models” to emulate, better instead to consider all of the bad role models who you *don’t* want to become. For example myself, I don’t want to become like my dad, so I just do everything *opposite* of what he did. Thus I have a very good blueprint in terms of becoming a good future father —
Study, and analyze your “anti role models”— and use their negative traits as a positive learning experience.
Once again — just “go opposite” of negative folks and their character traits and actions, and you will be golden.
If you have a passion for black and white photography, does this mean that studying calligraphy (black paint on white canvas) can also give you artistic insights and good “creative cross pollination”?
A thought this morning:
Photography *is* painting.
We get this intrinsic joy from painting. Photography as painting with light. Thus perhaps the more painterly thoughts we can have, the better?