I have a competition coming up and can submit up to two mono images and three colour images. I had a look through my back catalogue of photos yesterday and chose some pictures which I thought might be suitable – one portrait, one creative and three wildlife. However, they needed a little work so I set about perfecting them.
Two hours later I was fed up and dissatisfied. I wasn’t enjoying the experience and the results were far from competition worthy. So I analysed what was going on and realized that only two out of the five images were ‘speaking’ to me and I was so disconnected to the rest they might as well have belonged to someone else.
When I first started out in photography, I was delighted merely to take a picture that was sharp and in focus! But as my skills improved I was able to think about composition, then editing techniques, and as time has gone by this has evolved into focusing on storytelling. I now get the most joy from the emotional content of my images, which is why I so love creative photography. My fine art pictures always start with an experience or message which I then try to portray in print.
I’ve discovered that I am only truly fulfilled if I create with intention. Whether that intention is to tell a story, evoke an emotional reaction, portray an experience, to celebrate femininity or the beauty of the world around me. When you start creating with intention, you align with your purpose, and when you’re aligned with your purpose it feeds your soul. When I’m making a picture which has significance to me it just flows and I would rather only enter one meaningful image into a competition than enter five merely for the sake of it.
Of course, creating with intention means you make fewer pictures. I can’t churn out a dozen meaningful images every week, just like Usain Bolt can’t break world records every week! And that’s OK. It means I’m never going to win my Camera club league, as I’m only entering 2 images instead of 5, and that’s OK too. I’m not a competitive person. The motivation behind producing the images I do is to share my experience of the world with others, not for a judge to declare that my image is better than anyone else’s (which is never true in any event, as everyone’s view of the world is equally valid – it’s just that some photographers have more knowledge of technique than others).
Today, my intention is to begin to create an image of a broken marionette doll. My vision is that the ‘doll’ will have purposefully cut the strings which bind her and my challenge is how to super-impose the skin (for want of a better word) of a wooden doll over the skin of a person. I have no idea as yet how I’m going to achieve that, but I know I’ll find a way. I also have to apply doll-like makeup, which I’ve never done before in my life (thank God for the generous souls on YouTube!). The final image is already firmly planted in my mind and although I know from experience the resulting picture won’t turn out exactly as I’ve planned, it at least gives me direction.
My imagination is in over-drive, my energy is buzzing and I’m excited to begin work! How do you intend to create today?