To see, hear, smell, taste, feel, express, envision new realities in new ways is absolutely key to the
Photographer. Human dwelling upon Planet Earth at this time.
But to do that means Change. Yeah, capital C. Whether you’re a regular human or an artist human… that is sometimes challenging. Well OK, it’s always challenging. Especially when you’re comfy. But as artists, we must always be on wary watch for the icy clutches of “habit”. True for art – and for an artfully lived life.
Personally, I’ve experienced alot of change in my life. Professionally, I’ve been a figure skater, dancer, horse trainer, equestrienne competitor, actor, singer, voice over artist… have taught or coached all those things as well as a few others. On the personal front, I’ve had a breakdown, almost died, been married twice, moved 14 times in 10 years at one point, discovered the core of my own faith. Suffice it to say, change and I are old acquaintances. Even now, I’m embarking on yet another change; bringing my first and most cherished love and old flame Photography back into my life in new and remarkable ways.
People used to call me a “Jack of all trades, master of none.” Although silently in my head, I’d correct that phrase to finish this way: “… Master of them all.” Which I pretty much was. Growing up, the professional world viewed frequent change as pure folly. Now – not just coping with, but excelling at embracing changing opportunities is a necessary skill set. But no matter what, it’s always a bit scary, messy, imperfect, exciting, exhilarating, defining… depending upon from which end of the spectrum you approach it.
I think the biggest key is to not be afraid of it. Train for it – and train your nimble little mind to envision what you want out of it. Teach it that numbness, sameness and the habitual aren’t great options – and then show it how to conjure up alternative realities, any of which would make you happy and be viable.
I see photo processing like that sometimes… a training ground for staying flexible, inviting my imagination to stretch, saying “yes” to new ideas, different ways of seeing, looking forward and playing. All of which are SO important in creating the kind of life I want to live. The less constricted I am in my “What If’s” (what if I tried this, what if I did that, what if everything worked out just perfectly – what would that feel like?), the better my life works and flows.
This photo I’m showing you here is one I took in Paris, 2010. I’d always seen it a certain way, no other would do. (it’s the first one in this post). It was fine. Decent. A pretty picture. But recently I pulled it out and wondered what else I could come up with. Y’know, just as an exercise. Once I got through about 3 alternatives, ideas started to flow and my imagination lit up like a Christmas tree! I stopped 6 different ways, but could’ve gone for many more. And then had this nutty idea. I mean, heck, the engine was running, why not see what this puppy could do?
So, I turned this conjuring mechanism to my life and pointed it at an issue I’d been having, where I was stuck seeing only limited solutions. The next thing I knew, I had maybe 3 perfectly viable alternate solutions and felt alot less stressed about it all. Fun stuff!
Now, I’m not about telling how anybody how to live their life – or do their art, for that matter. But for all the times I’ve heard people say “life imitates art”, I was always curious about:
1. How, specifically does that work?
2. How art can inform life.
This little experiment of mine was interesting enough I wanted to poke my neighbor in the ribs and say – “Hey, how cool! Check this out!”
Well… today, you’re that neighbor. Poke! 😉