Camera Position 179 : Embracing the Almost

All of us make photographs that, for some reason, don’t quite work, even though we had high hopes for them. If we embrace those photographs that almost worked, but didn’t, we can find some tools to help us improve and grow.

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Here are some examples of images that are “almosts” for me (and that I discuss in this podcast):

Archway - uninteresting light and no solid center of interest make this an "almost" image.
Archway – uninteresting light and no solid center of interest make this an “almost” image.

 

Blue & Red Paint - if only I'd realized that it was the faded paint that I was most interested in and not the decoration, I might have moved in closer for a more abstract image in this "almost" photograph.
Blue & Red Paint – if only I’d realized that it was the faded paint that I was most interested in and not the decoration, I might have moved in closer for a more abstract image in this “almost” photograph.
Blue Door - Of course I see now that it was the blue door that attracted me and not the carved details of the door. But I didn't see that then and I have this "almost" image to remind me to be clear about my intention.
Blue Door – Of course I see now that it was the blue door that attracted me and not the carved details of the door. But I didn’t see that then and I have this “almost” image to remind me to be clear about my intention.

 

Camera Position 178 : Everyday Creativity

When you face something you think you can’t possibly do and then go ahead and do it anyway creativity is the tool you use.

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El Trovatore Motel, Kingman, AZ Photograph by Jeff Curto
El Trovatore Motel, Kingman, AZ
Photograph by Jeff Curto

Camera Position 177 : It’s Not a Pursuit, It’s a Medium

A lot of people who are “into” photography seem to think of the “doing” of photography as the end unto itself. While the mechanical act of making photographs can be pleasurable, I think of photography as a medium for self-examination, not a pursuit unto itself.

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Spiral 1, 2016 - Photograph by Jeff Curto
Spiral 1, 2016 – Photograph by Jeff Curto

Camera Position 176 : 10 Rules Rules for Getting Started

The American abstract expressionist painter Richard Diebenkorn (1922 –1993) is noted not only for his great work, but also for his thoughts about the creative process. Diebenkorn’s “Notes to myself on beginning a painting” is a list of 10 things to think about as we begin any creative work – we can think of them as “10 Rules for Getting Started.”

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Richard Diebenkorn’s “Notes to myself on beginning a painting”

1.  Attempt what is not certain.  Certainty may or may not come later.  It may then be a valuable delusion.

2.  The pretty, initial position which falls short of completeness is not to be valued — except as a stimulus for further moves.

3.  Do search.  But in order to find other than what is searched for.

4.  Use and respond to the initial fresh qualities but consider them absolutely expendable.

5.  Don’t “discover” a subject — of any kind.

6.  Somehow don’t be bored — but if you must, use it in action.  Use its destructive potential.

7.  Mistakes can’t be erased but they move you from your present position.

8.  Keep thinking about Polyanna.

9.  Tolerate chaos.

10. Be careful only in a perverse way.

Richard Diebenkorn - Knife in a Glass, 1963
Richard Diebenkorn – Knife in a Glass, 1963
Richard Diebenkorn -Cityscape, 1963
Richard Diebenkorn -Cityscape, 1963

Camera Position 175 : From One, Many

There’s an old adage in photography: “inside every 8×10” print, there is a really excellent 5×7” image waiting to be found.” That old saw is the foundation for an exercise that I’ve used for myself and in my classes over the years; take an image that you’ve made and search for alternate cropping choices that might strengthen the composition. Regardless of whether you find a “better” photograph, you learn a fair amount about how to see.

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Original Image - Grapes, Castiglione d'Orcia, Tuscany, 2014
Original Image – Grapes, Castiglione d’Orcia, Tuscany, 2014
Crops from the original image
Crops from the original image
Crop #1
Crop #1
Crop #2
Crop #2
Crop #3
Crop #3
Crop #4
Crop #4

 

 

 

 

A Podcast About the Creative Side of Photography