I love the “What If?” game. Have you ever played it? I bet money you have – although you might not have realized what a hot item you held in your clever little hands.
In a world where Possibility reigns supreme – or in one where you’d like for it to – “What If” is a golden key. It’s like that moment when you turn the key (or press the button) for your car to start. A millisecond later it DOES turn over and purr… but in that moment where you put the key in and turn it – right in there is “What if”. Without that moment, there’s no possibility of your engine starting.
Applied to photography (or a life lived artfully), as I see it “What if” allows you to loosen the part of your mind that holds itself together with stuff it knows. It says things like “that won’t work because… ” and “You should do it this way…” and “Naw, so-and-so’s already done that. Waste of time.” Whew, that’s tiring!
I love “What if” for the possibilities it leads me to. Take this photo, for instance. This is the raw, unadulterated version of it:
I absolutely love the desolate feeling in this photo. The broken down ranch house – sitting out in the middle of miles of empty, high country, sage brush covered land. What a story it must have! But now… it’s alone. I knew it would probably work best as a black and white photo, but wanted to play with color for a little while first. So, I thought “What if the color in the sky were more intense – and it gave you the feeling it was a little ‘apart’ from us. The feeling of transition intensified… like, one foot in this world, one foot in another? Strange idea. But that “what if” landed me here:
Is it marketable? Loveable? I dunno. Probably, to someone. All my photos are like my kids, so I love ’em all. But I’m smart enough to know not everyone will. When you’re engaged with “What if”… the important thing is to NOT shut the door because of what you think others will think. Let ‘er rip.
So next, we ripped over to black and white, my first love. B&W now beckoned me to explore her lights, her darks, her mysterious shadows. The desolate vibe leapt through.
The thing about black and white is her many moods. How altering shades of grey can place us in a time when we weren’t even alive (that we remember)… but that evoke a slice of history, an era, a people. Maybe your grandmother’s time… your great-great grandmother.
Without darkness there is not light.
And with sufficient contrast between the two, a passage of time comes through like a sucker punch:
That, right there, is some of the fun you can have with “What If?”. You can go deeper, explore more, discover more, laugh more. You can dream… and let “What if” find ways to bring those dreamy ideas to fruition. You can change your inner dialog from “I can’t do that” to “What if you could?”… thus setting your mind to creating the way TO do that. Whatever “that” is for you.
I love using my photography to tickle that uber creative, uber fun, super-duper possibility generating engine into starting up and humming down the road.
Because I find it’s JUST like Gloria Steinham said: “Without leaps of imagination or dreaming, we lose the excitement of possibilities. Dreaming, after all, is a form of planning.
So now… let’s see. Where to next? And What If… where we go next is more amazing than we’ve ever to imagine and dream of before?
Count me in! How ’bout you?