This is a subject of great interest to me. How to get through creative
barriers. I have been exploring the nature of memory (and personal
history) to creativity. If I take the liberty to snip through some of
your email (and later go out on a limb):
> At 10:01 AM 3/29/2006, Ag wrote:
> ... I've been "practicing" for something like 32 years. ...
> I'm a copycat, I'm sorry to say. There are only a handful of
> pictures in my entire collection that I'd say are "originals".
> Everything else is some variation of something else I've seen. ...
> ...stock, but really hold little, if any, artistic value. ...
> It's hard, sometimes, maybe all the time, to get beyond "record
> shots" and "me too" shots and actually expand your horizons and
> skillsets. ...
> ... I've taken, maybe one picture in the past 24 months
> (Z-Falls) that I consider anything near original where I
> pre-visualized the outcome and worked the scene to come up with
> my own interpretation of it AND felt that the resulting image
> met the goal.
> ...The rest have been rehashes of what I've already
> done or seen others do.
> ...Then I ask myself "what gives mine artistic value?"
> What's the message? What's the subject? Is there a story to be
> told? Tell the story. I know these things, but how does one
> break from our comfort zone?
> I hate being stuck in this creative logjam and am needing a
> fresh vision.
Notice the preponderance of 'memory' and 'personal history' on the
nature of creativity. I would also like to separate the words
'artistic' and 'value'. I'm not sure the two should be combined, as it
implies that something is 'judged' to be artistic. To me it is more
whether something holds my interest over time. It could be
uncomfortable to look at, who is the judge. Some photographs are very
disturbing. Are they 'artistic'.
One the nature of memory and the creative moment, I believe is related
to a theory that 'creativity' is impersonal. If this is true, then
there are some interesting implications. There are some body oriented
techniques for working with memory and certain anxieties that can block
the flow of creativity. These are not my own theories, but I was
introduced to them from a teacher. My experience with doing some of the
body work he taught, interestingly, has a direct effect on the
occipital region of the brain that affects vision. When I do the
techniques, my vision expands and I see differently.
When first engaging in this practice, anxiety comes up immediately.
There is a certain discomfort in being in that place, but working with
it can convert it into increased sensitivity. Perhaps why doing
something creative is such a struggle.
This also brings up some interesting questions around 'value' and what
we expect to 'feel' when a truly creative moment happens. 'Value' may
be what happens after we make something personal. Do we need to feel a
particular way?, inspired? I belive that if creative is impersonal,
then in some way, when we really enter creative, it connects us to
something larger than ourselves, and that feeling is what I seek.
Sometimes it is sublime, precious, sensitive, vulnerable, terrifying,
overwhelming, anxious, awesome, .... but I feel more alive.
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