Your work is to discover your work and then with all of your heart give yourself to it. – Buddha
You don’t see things as they are. You see things as you are. – Talmud
Creativity involves breaking out of established patterns in order to look at things in a different way. — Edward de Bono
Charles Bowers offered members of two central Maryland Camera Clubs the opportunity to work with him and each other out of his home studio to discuss, practice and expand the creativity of their images. A dozen folks took him up on the offer, 7 from the Baltimore Camera Club. We will meet approximately monthly and had our first meeting in January.
As you might expect for the first meeting, we introduced ourselves, showed a little of our work, went over the rules, and got our first assignment. We had filled out a survey of topics of interest before class, and composite images were high on the list so that is where we started. We were given a base image and six other images. The rules were that we had to use the base image, should use at least three of the others, and couldn’t use any outside images.
So I worked on the assignment, Dropboxed several different attempts, and got some comments back from Charles after a couple of days. The comments were helpful, but indicated that I had not adequately achieved my intent. Charles reasonably suggested that the cross was too big, and the white birds should have some detail. I was trying for a “surrealistic” image and that apparently did not come through. I started to write back, and then stopped, and asked myself whether I really knew what surrealism was. So before potentially embarrassing myself, I looked up surrealism.
And this is the real point of this rather extended narrative: That I stepped away from a narrow focus on photography and looked into the history, background and thinking behind the kind of art I thought I was doing. That has broadened and deepened my thinking about my personal vision, where I might go in the future, and what skills I might want to sharpen.
This insight alone has been valuable. I bought a used book on Dali, one of the more famous surrealists and will continue to broaden my horizons. Google+ has a Surrealism and Fine Art community with amazing images that will really stretch your mind, which is what creativity is all about.
So I took most of Charles’ comments and lowered the clouds so the top wasn’t cut off, moved the peasants up in the picture so they had feet. Left my “ghost” birds as they were, and added an even larger cross shadow pointing right at the peasants to try and indicate, in a dream-like way, the relationship between religion, spirituality and a rural way of life. Given the limitations of the assignment, I am reasonably happy with this result, but still have time to add more ideas.
As always, comments are welcome.