The artistic roadblock #283

Some of my random thoughts about the art of photography.

This is a journey that never ends.

As artists we all face certain roadblocks.

I am looking for inspiration to overcome a roadblock I hit on my journey to express myself in a new way. While searching for a solution I found these quotes.

“We look at the world and see what we have learned to believe is there, [what] we have been conditioned to expect…… But, as photographers, we must learn to relax our beliefs.”

AARON SISKIND

“When subject matter is forced to fit into preconceived patterns, there can be no freshness of vision. Following rules of composition can only lead to a tedious repetition of pictorial cliches.”

EDWARD WESTON 

The above quotes tell us something very important about a unique and new way to see and photograph our world around us. It is called Contemplative photography. This method has us responding reflexively to what we see with a gut reaction. We simply react to a moment of perception in which we suddenly see something that interest us. We use the camera to express our visual perceptions exactly as we experience them. The resulting image is an exact expression of our eye, mind and heart as it connects with the perception. We have the ability to see the world in a pure way, without overlays of meaning and value, pleasure, dislike or disinterest. In Tibetan philosophy we call this theory Miksang (translated as good eye).Contemplative photography emphasizes the experience of seeing. We might describe it as connecting what we see  with our inherent creativity, insight and intelligence. It is not constrained by subject matter, rules or traditional formulas. It is neither conceptual nor emotional.

I have a feeling I achieved a certain level in my photography and now I hit a roadblock. Somehow I cannot get to the next level. I just keep doing what I have learned.  While looking to get new directions and step ahead I learned about contemplative photography. Might it be the proverbial next level to open a window to  a whole new world? Who knows?

In contrast to the contemplative approach, there is another perhaps more traditional and academic way to create photographs or paintings where we are using rules, preconceived patterns and concepts. I have read a book illustrating this time honored approach very well., “HARALD MANTE, The Photograph: Composition and color design, 2012, 2nd ed.” The content of this book describes the guidelines of pictorial design which is highly conceptual and is based on rules and formulas. We can read here in details about the elements of design, including point, line, shape, form, texture, value, contrast and color. Using this method, we compose a picture applying the above guidelines.

Anyway, it is the proverbial and somewhat banal artistic roadblock, isn’t it? So much frustration! So much theory! So much unknown! So much uncertainty! Did you ever have the same problem?  I certainly would appreciate any insight, idea, comment or suggestion. However, I know there is no answer and I need to find my way on my own.

Explore the light and your inner self,

Robert

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