ART, IT'S ALL IN YOUR HEAD - 23 March 2013
North Shore in Moonlight - Midway Island, North Pacific
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I was reading a TED book earlier today. If you don't know what a TED book is think of it as a TED Talk except in written form. If you don't know what a TED Talk is, think about talks that inspire you except on Youtube. That's a TED Talk. This book was about education, a new form of teaching and learning. While the book was totally interesting and inspiring a little nugget unrelated to the content of the book stuck with me. The writer quoted a youngster who previously didn't know how to work a computer let alone paint using one. When the youngster learned how to use a mouse, cursor, and painting application, she considered thoughtfully, "...you mean this art doesn't exist anywhere except in my head and virtually on the computer..."
Wow. If you don't know why I say "wow". Let me explain.
To me as a photographer we talk a lot about pre-visualizing the image before actually pushing the trigger. It's easier said than done for the novice photographer. All a novice wants to do is shoot a nice picture meaning it's all about the result. My thought is the result is totally the by-product of what's going on in your cranium. If you can "see" the result before you press the trigger, the application of your art, the technical aspect will be that much easier. What's going on in your head is the critical piece. The challenge is having the technical skills to realize your internal vision.
This kids observation is precisely that. Art exists in your cranium. And, in the kid's experience it barely exists in the computer.
Great! Why is that so important? It's important because it points to what you have to do to make great art; internal visualization of the art before it really exists. For photographers, that's called "pre-visualization". Other art forms use other terms. What do you do with this information? You exercise your mind's eye just like any other muscle.
How do you do that? For photographers, try this technique. Establish a spot anywhere. It could be inside, outside, hopefully someplace where you can work for an hour. From that spot count five steps. Imagine a circle surrounding your spot with a five step radius. Now, shoot 30 pictures of anything inside that circle. Do anything you want, the sky is the limit. The point here is to be innovative by exercising your inherent creativity. You'll find the first few pictures will go by fast. Soon, it'll become harder until you don't see anything to shoot, your mind is blank. Don't stop! Stay with it. I promise there are more pictures to be made. The trick is to find them. By exercising your creativity, to create images in your head before they exist, you'll find those pictures.
The next time you aren't satisfied with your art think about what's going on in your head. Instead of blaming skill, technique, or equipment, see if you're visualizing your result before you pull the trigger. After all, your art starts inside your mind before it exists outside for the rest of the world to see.
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