We all have a creative power within us, our inner artist, for we all share the language of feeling, which is what we try to achieve in our photography. I believe, that the only way for a photographer, or any artist for that matter, to grow and develop their artistic vision, is to be oneself - purely, simply, completely. No matter what our background, we are all creators, and we each create best when we use our total self -- blending mind, body and spirit. When we work from our “hearts” (our inner self) the resulting work is an expression of our true selves. The question then becomes how do we find, listen to, and grow the artist that lies within. If this can be accomplished and your creativity allowed full reign then the next step is to successfully translate your visualized creation into the camera.

In order to answer this question we must first understand both how we process visual information and in turn why we respond to visual images the way we do.

 “The real voyage of discovery consists not of seeking new lands but seeing with new eyes.” - Marcel Proust

Above: Rose and Dewdrop. While my eye saw a clearly delineated section of flowers and leaves hanging down from a wall, I was also aware of the soft light and water droplets. My creative vision put all of these factors together to create an image that was much softer in its feel than the scene present before me.

AWARENESS AND HOW WE VISUALIZE

As thinking beings who depend upon our vision to interact with the world around us, to communicate with each other, and to expand our knowledge we have need to define the things that we see. Defining things has a practical value as without common definitions we would be unable to talk to each other.  Imagine the confusion if while I talk about a camera you are visualizing a round object that bounces when dropped. Because we think, we are constantly undergoing the ceaseless process of definition. It is a process of creating structure and giving form to the world and forces around us. From a creative aspect though, definitions can be a two-edged sword as they can also place limits on our levels of awareness as well as our creativity.

Brown Bear 8054.jpg Flower Abstract 0070.jpg Lower Yellowstone Falls.jpg

Above:  Whether portrait or broad landscape, bear, flower, or waterfall the visual success of these images depends upon our ability to quickly identify what we are seeing in the image in order to then go on and appreciate the overall composition. If the visual information in an image cannot accomplish this then the visual strength of the image is diminished or, as with abstracts, it is a deliberate attempt to force the viewer to draw their own conclusions from the image. For subject or theme based photography having an understanding of what we are seeing leads to a greater appreciation of the image.

Our desire to place definitions and labels on everything we see strongly influences the way that we see and interpret images and the visual messages they carry. If you look at an image and cannot define, and therefore understand, what you see, there is a strong desire to stop “appreciating” the image and to start “analyzing” its contents in order to gain a better understanding of it. This visual lack of definition simply serves to increase confusion and the visual message of the image is lost on the viewer.

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