Persistence Versus Creativity

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DeWolf_20120104_6192Creativity drain is a problem for all artists and authors. The well does go dry frequently. But, I had a little experience in France that was revealing.

A few months after my solo exhibit in Croissy-sur-Seine, France in May of 2009 I returned to do more photographing. I’m my own worst critic and I felt that I needed more time shooting there to produce a better level of work. I was determined to make the most use of limited time, but now I was working with 15 days instead of two or three.

I rented an apartment for 15 days. With the generosity of wonderful people in that community, I had assistance and the use of a car. Each day I drove to various locales and pushed myself relentlessly to get the kind of images I hoped to capture. It was mentally exhausting. The morning of day 12 I awoke, stared at the ceiling, and painfully asked myself, “Do I really have to take more pictures today?” I was tapped out and almost depressed.

For 12 days, I looked for the “good light” hitting interesting subjects; standard formula. During breakfast, the thought crossed my mind that I should make shadows my subject. That is hardly original, but it was a new paradigm for the project. My frustration and mental fatigue disappeared instantly. I was no longer tired and no longer dispirited.

Shadows and light are married to each other, but I was so intent upon one that I was not seeing the other. There is almost always more content in a scene than we allow ourselves to see and there are infinite ways to edit what we capture. When we are in a creative rut, I’m convinced there is always a way out.

Brian DeWolf
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