The joy of creativity

Right now, I’m more in love with my printer than my camera. This is a huge departure from where I was three years ago when I wrote: “For the pure joy of the photograph”. I’ve grown a lot as an artist in the last three years and my joy of photography has expanded to a more inclusive joy of creativity.

In my original post I talked a lot about the thrill of photography. I wanted to take photos and not actually “do” anything with them. I referenced Vivian Maier and her well know habit of taking hundreds of rolls of photographs and not developing them. The act of taking a photo was more important (easier?) than developing, printing and exhibiting her work.

I know the feeling. Three years ago my primary objective was taking photos. Exploring my environment through toys was my only goal. There is a pure joy to the photographic process. I was more than happy to simply have fun.

Recently Kristina asked: ”When is an image finished?” I can relate to her dilemma. I think all creatives can. Setting up a particularly photo and seeing the beauty of the light, the image, the story, is addicting. The act of creating by taking photographs, feels good. It feels so good, in fact, that its sometimes hard to stop. What I’m learning now is that it feels good to be creative in other ways too.

While I still experience the joy of creativity, I seem to be moving away from focusing on the click of the shutter.  I want to develop the images further then ever before. Editing is more important due to the effort and time of alternative processes.  Printing my works and presenting them is my current challenge. There are boxes of paper and spare ink begging to be used. My shop is filled with boards to be prepped and images to be mounted. July 15th is right around the corner!

I love taking photos, but my creative drive is shifting in new directions. I’ve spent time organizing my web site into albums. I’m also curating images into a semi-cohesive group for a cafe show. By doing these activities I can see where I need to focus my creative energies. I now see glaring holes in my portfolio which helps me in the decision making process.  Which images should I photograph next? With the help of Jennifer’s G+ challenge I’m also looking at my ‘near misses’ to see if they can be salvaged.

An image from 2015 which I’ve always loved, but why does the pond have to be so dirty??
A new version taken in my back yard. Im not there yet, but this image gives me hope. 🙂

Sometimes being creative doesn’t mean taking photos. Sometimes you have to stop and take stock of where you are and where you want to go. Priorities change, interests move in new directions.

I’m grateful for the frustrations of various on line media platforms. There is an upside to the current negative Instagram user experience. Rather than chase likes and followers, I’m getting my hands dirty and making stuff. The physical act of creating a piece of art is a joyous way to spend an afternoon.

Much has changed in my life since I started blogging in February of 2014, but the joy of photography has not. I’ve only expand my creative joy to include editing, curating and creating images for presentation.

Shelly

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What have you created today?

What have you created today?

I ask myself this question everyday. It might seem like an easy question to answer, but somedays its hard to answer positively. Like you, I have the usual litany of personal responsibilities that accompanying the act of #adulting. I won’t bore you with the details because I’m sure you have a similar list. Yet, with all these responsibilities its important to be able to answer: “Yes, I created something today!”

You and I are similar…we love photography and creativity. I know this because you’re reading this blog. We all have our different reasons for using toys as our subject, but at the core, we’re all creatives. (If you’re not familiar with the many reasons toy photographers use toys, you should check out our “Why?” series!) As a creative, I bet you want to understand and improve your photography.

I know I am. Continue reading What have you created today?

Image Recovery & Shooting Outside your Comfort Zone

I’m pretty strictly a studio photographer. I like having full control of the entire set and lighting. But there were a few pictures on my ‘to do ‘ list that just seemed to be begging to be shot outdoors.

My sister came into town to visit and needed some beach shots for her blog. That was the final ingredient I needed for an inevitable outdoor shoot. So, armed with her shoes, and my toys, off to the beach we went.

Honestly, it wasn’t the best beach day. A bit too windy and chilly. But we stayed for just over an hour. I photographed seagulls and I photographed toys and I figured all the photos would be crap, because I was out of my comfort zone. Continue reading Image Recovery & Shooting Outside your Comfort Zone

Saving Ideas

Google image search ‘idea journaling’ and you get beautiful pages full of neat handwriting, perfect sketches, scrapbook paper and washi tape.

I keep an idea journal. Mine is not beautiful.

My journal (or should I say journals, because I constantly start new ones before old ones are full) is messy – scrawled script, scribbled pictures – complete nonsense to the onlooker. However, this process is a way for me to save things that I may not remember later, to brainstorm vague ideas for images and make those ideas fuller, to feel like I’m creating even when I don’t have a camera in my hand. Continue reading Saving Ideas

Quality over quantity?

Recently, I have read on someone’s Instagram post that they don’t like the “cheap route of posting daily the same iPhone photos of the shark suit minifigs or minimalist shots of Stormtroopers.” They prefer to “focus attention on creating well-crafted models and shooting artistically – styled vignettes.” Basically they were calling for quality over quantity. Continue reading Quality over quantity?

On Measuring Success

By dictionary definition, success is ‘the accomplishment of an aim or purpose (it’s also ‘the attainment of popularity or profit,’ but let’s focus on the first one for now.

I think the path to creative success begins with a pride in your work. Are you creating work that you love, that fills your creative craving? Maybe your work isn’t always your definition of complete perfection, but can you look at your latest image and think ‘this is it, I’m getting it, this is where I need to be?’ If not, why not?

Continue reading On Measuring Success

The Basics – Breaking Rules

I remember when I first met Kristina she was looking for a fellow photographer who liked breaking the rules. My reaction at the time was confusion, because I didn’t know what those rules were. Recently I came across a list of basic photography ‘rules’ and I was pleasantly surprised. Both by what the rules are and were I fell on the spectrum of rule breakers. Continue reading The Basics – Breaking Rules

Seasons Reasons

As March heralds Australia’s autumn (What word do Americans use for ‘autumnal’?), it got me thinking about the seasons, and whether (no pun intended) they influence my photography. Am I a seasonal creature? Do the seasons dictate my toy photography?

Seasons in the ahh…bliss

We start the seasons on the first of the month. It’s a convenience thing. But summer tends to linger well into March here in Australia. We still have days worthy of trips to the beach, the wood fire remains motionless, and the evenings still have a summer balminess loitering in the air. Continue reading Seasons Reasons

Inspiration One Card at a Time

Where do you find your inspiration? Do you find it in the light like Kristina? Maybe you get your inspiration from your favorite movie like Fathers Figures? Maybe you find it on your “to-do” shelf like Brett? Or maybe you need a little direction to help jumpstart your inspiration like me? Continue reading Inspiration One Card at a Time

How long did that take you to set up?

I’m often asked: How long did that take you to set up? I never know how to answer this question.

Are they asking if what I’m doing is difficult? Do they want to hear it took hours? Or do they want to know it took only a few minutes?  Personally, I’ve never felt that the quality of an image has anything to do with the amount of time I put into it. I’ve successfully captured ideas in three frames and other images I’ve spent all summer chasing. There is no indication one method is more successful than another.

Continue reading How long did that take you to set up?