Serendipity and Illumination…

One of the most wonderful things about blogging is that you never know what will turn up in your reader on any given day, so when the universe conspires to put a particular post directly in your path, ripe for reading, serendipity can sometimes bring the most startling illumination. And so it was for me this morning – I logged on to WordPress and there at the very top of my reader was the most perfect new post from Otto von Munchow on his blog ‘In Flow’ that spoke straight to my photographic heart.

As many of you will know I’m a keen amateur photographer, and have been trying to increase my basic knowledge of how to ‘make’ an image the way I want it to look rather than just ‘take’ a picture according to the camera’s automatic settings. Technically I’m learning a lot, both in theory and in practice, but frustratingly I’m finding there’s still an undefinable ‘something’ missing from the overall experience that to date I’ve not quite been able to put my finger on…

But Otto’s latest post talks so descriptively of getting into a creative flow, of losing yourself in the photographic moment, of being ‘in the zone’ and at one with your camera, that I realised that’s what’s been missing for me. I want to become someone who is so comfortable capturing life as I experience it that my camera becomes almost a creative extension of me, the’ seventh sense’ Otto refers to, with my photography a mode of artistic expression as automatic as breathing.

I’ve always known that emotionally I’m far too self-conscious a photographer, but I’ve not always thought through the full effects of that self-consciousness. It keeps me feeling slightly uncomfortable about so obviously carrying a camera with me while I’m out and about, even now – I’m much better than I used to be, but that constant awareness of myself when taking photographs in public does still bother me a bit.

My self-consciousness prevents me from fully connecting with whatever I’m photographing (always assuming I do get as far as photographing it in the first place), keeping me emotionally on the outside looking in rather than becoming fully immersed in the situation. And that in turn definitely detracts from the overall feel of my final images – I don’t always capture the particular vibe I was looking for, and I know that has to be down to my failing, not due to any technical fault in my equipment.

I don’t just want to be taking generic photographs that show a cautiously correct, faithful representation of what a subject looks like – I very much want to be able to make individual artistic images that creates an impression of how I see something, how I feel it to be, how I experience it in real time. And for that I need to be truly comfortable in myself with camera in hand, become fully open to being lost in flow in order to let my creativity fly free…

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6 thoughts on “Serendipity and Illumination…

  1. When I’m in the flow, the act of catching moments with my camera actually enhances that life experience that I’m going through. I’m seeing things that I would not normally see. Looking for possible shots excites me. Hmm.

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