If You Have No Talent, Create.

July 29, 2016

"Never give up and good luck will find you" ~ Falcor "The NeverEnding Story

Since the last blog, I've gone on somewhat a hypothetical journey. I've learned a lot and yet at the same time, found more questions to ask. Which I'm finding somewhat interesting in a way. I remember one of my previous bosses telling me (when I first started) that when you begin, you know what you know. Then as you gain experience you come to the realisation that there's more to it and you don't know what you don't know. This is the stage when things become difficult and overwhelming and people give up.


Well, if you stick with it and persist then you reach the stage of knowing what you don't know. For me, personally, I feel like I'm on the line between not knowing what I don't know...and knowing what I don’t' know. By that, I mean that I've come to the realisation that there's so much more I need to know (because I don't) but I feel that now, I'm able to articulate what this is much better.


Relating it back to my photography work, it's like visualising what I want one of my images to look like then heading onto YouTube to look for a basic tutorial for it...but not knowing what the hell to even type in the search box. That's where I was. Now, I'd like to believe that there's aspects of what I want to visually achieve, I at least now know what to look for when I jump onto YouTube.


I've also been thinking a lot about the differences between photography and art. Photography AS art. When does a photograph BECOME art? Do I want to just be a photographer? Or do I want to be an photographic artist? Is there a difference? Or are the terms interchangeable? Does it make a difference? And if it does, what is that difference?


Now, I'm not going to go into the long winded research of art, art history, photography or psychology but for me, I'm inspired by the quote from Cirque Du Soleil's show Allegra that states: "If you have no voice, scream. If you have no legs, run. If you have no hope, invent." The power of that quote still brings a tear to my eyes but my interpretation of that ethos would be to extend it to "If you have no talent, create" and that's what I've been doing.


The hardest part of being "creative" is to actually BE creative. I had become somewhat complacent with photography and aspects of creativity and I only have myself to blame for that. Creativity always seems to take a back seat to the rest of life's priorities but having had the opportunity to find some balance again I (once again) tried to be creative. Starting is always the hardest part. Taking that first step of doing something when you don't know how has been one of the hardest things I've done and with the added insecurities and scrutiny of social media, it can be extremely daunting.


Admittedly, getting past this somewhat painfully excruciating hurdle has only managed to be achieved with a lot of soul searching and a change of mindset. The recent "Winter"  image series that I created was as much a personal development project as it was an artistic development project. I started off with a concept and from there it evolved into something I used as a process. Like with anything creative it will never be perfect but instead of looking at the finished product as an objective, I used the learning process as the objective. As if it were an assignment for a course - would I be happy to submit it? Would I receive a passing grade? I don't ever expect to gain 100% for it but if I'm able to demonstrate an understanding and application of the key learning objectives then it's been a success as far as I'm concerned.


And in doing so, that's where I realise that the difference between a simple image or photograph becomes something more. It becomes art. What am I doing to it that makes it more than what it was? What am I doing to it to make people pay attention to it? What can I do to it to make it stand out? And that’s when the creativity started. Turning a simple image taken in a make-shift studio to adding a virtual background, adding differing lighting filters and shading, retouching imperfections on the image - these were all things that I previously considered to be sacrilegious to the world of photography because it was a manipulation of the 'truth' - because a photograph (to me) was always considered to be the truth.


Photography - specifically photojournalism (which I have a personal love for) - will always be seen as the absolute truth to me. Like a work of non-fiction. Something based in the real world. But what about the vast expanses of the non-fiction world? The world of digital art and photo manipulation? The world, although based on the absolute truth, is able to be expanded on giving people the opportunity to travel to new worlds, meet an array of creatures, cast magic spells, fly interstellar space craft or whatever the heart desires. I had been closed off to this concept for a very long time and by (re)opening this door, I feel like the cogs of creativity starting to move again and with their movement, the creation of momentum…which in turn creates more creativity…which in turn (with application of that creativity) creates talent…which creatives more momentum…and so on… 

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