I’m engaged in an ongoing creative experiment. It’s about shifting myself into new way of thinking – and living. Maybe “more expanded” is a good term for it. I’ve been at this in my personal life for awhile (OK, my whole life has been about this sort of thing!)- now I’m actively taking it new places in my photography. I walked you through one late evening adventure of it on this earlier post.. For this post, although I’ve got 3 photos to show you – I’m not prepared to tell you exactly how they happened. Note to self: get better at floating around in these right brain zones and still take notes! But I do have some thoughts. And they start with this photo… a jpg of the original RAW:
I liked it OK. It was fine. The trees, the pathway, the lines, all likeable. The ground, not so much. RAW’s are very blah, but all the data is there, just waiting for instruction. As was I.
Now, if I had a sidebar function on this blog, I’d insert one here to say: Have you read “The Art of Possibility” by Benjamin Zander? You should. My friend Curtis Simmons (his blog and Google+) suggested I read it and I’m so glad I did! It’s amazing. If you haven’t heard of Benjamin Zander… watch any of his TED Talks. This is one… but they’re all just fantastic.
Back to the book. Amazon describes it this way: “The Zanders’ deceptively simple practices are based on two premises: that life is composed as a story (“it’s all invented”) and that, with new definitions, much more is possible than people ordinarily think.” Right up my alley, baby!
I actually hadn’t started reading it when I worked on this photo… but the process he describes is exactly what I was after. The thought that crossed my mind: If I tell myself a different story, THEN what’s possible? I do loves stories I also know that we can be either completely trapped or set free by the stories we tell ourselves. I’ve rewritten my own personal history countless times into one I really love… but I always ask myself; what else is possible?
This is why I love art so much. Photography, painting, music, whatever. It can be one of the more direct lines to the divine. People engaged in this process tend to give themselves and each other alot of permission and support to experiment, dig in, find new stuff. It’s messy sometimes, but who cares? It’s a new story terraforming… AWESOME²!
So here was stop #2 of this photo, after I’d textured, adjustment layered, blended and otherwise stretched this photo to find some new possibilities:
Cool. I liked it! It was kind of weird – not like what I normally see take form on my screen. Reality – altered. hehheh. I loves me summa that!
Then I started thinking: OK, this is good. I’d normally stop here. But what else is possible? With what I know now, the tools I know how to use… what else can I do? I wanted something I’d NEVER normally imagine coming up with. And I reminded myself – we’re playing. This isn’t a finished masterpiece… the goal is to allow something new to emerge.
So it did.
Wow. Crazy. I didn’t even know if I liked it. It kind of confused my brain, who struggled to measure it against something – anything else it knew so it could give it a grade. I kinda liked it. I didn’t like it. It was weird – or cool. I couldn’t decide. I’d never show anyone this thing! No wait, I’ve got to post it and talk about it! It embarrassed me, it made me feel exhilarated. Yeah, I was conflicted. Ultimately, I was very, very cool with the whole process – and the results. Because it’s all a process and at the end of this one I TRUSTED myself more. How ’bout that? I’ll take it!
I realized it’s all part of expanding personal universe. You just can’t judge yourself, or you’ll faceplant on the ground again instead of soaring like a bird. It takes alot of courage and permission to let yourself try something new. You have to tell yourself a completely different story, otherwise you’ll just slam the book shut and never know the wonders it contains. You have to learn to trust your instincts, your guidance. You have to be willing to look stupid, take a chance, make the risk. And then… just like in Zander’s book… rewrite your own story again. Into one of greater possibility, deeper trust and WAY more fun! The stuff dreams are made of … only in OUR new story… these dreams are fulfilled!
And that’s what I love about art. In the end, it’s not about the art itself… it’s what it teaches you about living a fantastical life.