The Vitally Important "Why" - To Create

Discussion in 'Ethics and Philosophy' started by Ed Sukach, Mar 4, 2009.

  1. Ed Sukach

    Ed Sukach Member

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    "... It pretty quickly became apparent to me that the technical engine was far less important than the photographer's large motivations in making the work in the first place. It was the "why" it was done, not the "how".

    - Jock Sturges

    In reflecting upon that statement, I came across a quote that seems to define the... or at least, MY field for inspiration/ motivation - where I have the best chances of discovering something that will "light the burners".

    Consider:

    "I never came upon any of my discoveries through the process of rational thinking."

    - Albert Einstein

    When I am hit with artistic block, my reflex reaction is to try harder, and when increased effort doesn't work, even harder. It may well be that I am trying to overcome the block by rational thinking - when such rationality is, actually, a hindrance.

    In truth, none of my best work was ever "thought out". It (seems invariably) to have come into being as the result of some sort of magical dust falling on my eyes from - some indefinable somewhere.

    That will be my next course of action. Not beating away at the block, with my camera serving as a hammer; but, simply loading the camera with film, and holding it lightly, letting it draw me to where it will.

    This will take courage.

    Thoughts?
     
  2. jp80874

    jp80874 Member

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    Talking about it, worrying about it, getting angry or scared about it never made a picture for me. I have been working on the same series of the Ohio & Erie Canal for two plus years now. Loading the dogs in the car for a hike and explore in the miles of towpath has helped. Loading the camera, baby jogger, lens bag and film holders in the car for a careful examination or a return to interesting places in different light has always let to pictures. Those have led to more work and the steamroller has started again.

    For forty years I did the same thing in sales. It is called getting back to basics, prospecting, doing your job. If the motivation isn’t there, one boss or another said, “This is too hard to do if it doesn’t reward you. Go find something else that does.”

    John Powers
     
  3. Dan Henderson

    Dan Henderson Member

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    John: I love your use of the word "prospecting" here. It strikes me as the perfect metaphor for what photographers do when we head out with our cameras with no specific scene, or sometimes even place, in mind. Seeing what is there instead of looking for some great picture.
    Dan
     
  4. SuzanneR

    SuzanneR Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I'm not even sure "why" is so relevant... fact is, in the end, the picture is made.

    I like the idea of prospecting as well... keeping myself open to what I see, to shoot, and to see how something looks translated onto the film If it fails.. so what? As you say, Ed, sometimes thinking on it too much can be a hindrance to the act of working. Of making pictures.
     
  5. ilya1963

    ilya1963 Member

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    "my mother told me that life is like a box of chocolates you never know what you gonna find" - Forrest Gump

    open minds receiving outside waves are scary they pick up the weirdest stuff and if your body and soul responds then may be it's worth living.

    ILYA
     
  6. OP
    OP
    Ed Sukach

    Ed Sukach Member

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    I've given that question a LOT of thought, Susan. If, in three months or so, I look at a photograph I've made, and it still is successful in my eyes ... I wouldn't find either the "How" or "What" (either would be pretty obvious) of great interest; I would certainly consider making another successful one, possibly through a path of "non-thinking", where I try to recreate the emotional state and something of the mindset that accompanied the original. Not that I would set out to make a direct copy, but to enrich the field, prior to the later harvest. In other words, recreate the "Why".

    Something similar may well apply to a musical performance, or smallbore rifle competition. Rehearsals and Practices are the times for analyses and introspection, THINKING, and fussing over the tiniest of minutia. When it comes to DO time, one has no time left; the important thing is the flow. Overthinking will only slow down the process and draw attention away from the absorbtion and infusion of that mystical gift called motivation - or inspiration ... or ... whatever the hell it is...

    Scary ? Yes, it is. One will feel a sense of loss of control - always frightening.

    I HAVE t do this. I've been overworking/ overthinking FAR too much.
     
  7. archphoto

    archphoto Member

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    I have been there a couple of times.
    What helped me out of it was picking-up a diferent camera e.i. instead of the Sinar P2 the Rollei SL 66 and do some free work.
    Changing the format you are working on gives you a change of thinking aswell, and that helped me......

    Peter
     
  8. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    i try not to think too much about why ..
    i just "do" and if things work, i am happy
    and if things don't i remember and do it differently the next time.
    i just do my best to keep exposing film, as often as possible
    so i don't have to think about anything at all.
     
  9. Christopher Walrath

    Christopher Walrath Member

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    Make a pinhole camera and see what happens when you don't have to pour the technical thought into your photography. It can be very refreshing.