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photography is [an artist at play]

As an artist, I love to play.  I have always loved to push the photographic medium because I’m so familiar with it. If I knew painting or ceramics better, then those are the mediums I would probably tend to play in. When I worked in the darkroom, I would mix my own chemistry and coat my own light sensitive papers. Like a scientist, I would try to find a new formula for a style I imagined but many times I would make mistakes and discover something even more wonderful. Photography has a unique balance of technical and artistic qualities that keeps me immersed.

For the image above I had a vision in mind but it didn’t come out nearly as mysterious as I wanted it to. I created it from 3 different images shot on 3 different days. I would have photographed “the swinger” much differently but the process was fun nonetheless. I don’t like how she is off the frame at the bottom. I wanted her floating above the sea which I also wish was more prominent.

I used to be a lot more judgmental, edit my ideas and never end up doing anything. Now I am committed to just doing it because the process is so important to me. I learn something new every time I create just to create. The other thing I find that helps me evolve my process is to publish the work. I have spent years being in love with images I have made that have never been seen by anyone else. I don’t know if this has ever helped my process because I have never had feedback on the work but at the same time I feel that creating work for yourself is extremely important.

The way the photographic community is today is more nurturing toward the creative process. Immediate feedback and input on images from others seems to be common-especially on blogs, forums and at workshops. I don’t think constant feedback of “oh, this is beautiful” on every image someone makes is very helpful but noticing certain images and specific qualities about why you like an image can really contribute to your growth and the growth of the artist whose work you are viewing.

Another great way to learn more about yourself as an artist and photography in general is to pick up the book “Looking at Photographs: 100 Pictures from the Collection of The Museum of Modern Art” by John Szarkowski. This book has some profound insight into how to look at photographs and the importance of understanding the point of view of the artist.

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