Last Week’s Instagram

Munchow_1792-038_E2

Once a week—or every so often—I will display one of my photos captured and/or processed with Instagram over the last week. It’s a way for me to show photography that usually is quite different from my regular work. Except for the technical details beneath the pictures are displayed without any comments, hoping they will stand on their own. But I still very much appreciate any comments you may have.

Facts about the photo: It was captured with a Lumix LX-100 sett at the equivalent of a 24 mm lens, 1/125 s and f/3,2, transferred to my cell phone and then processed in Photoshop Express with the filter Misty. I increased the exposure, shadows and vibrance, and finally I added a frame from Snapseed.

Posted in Personal Work, Photography | Tagged | 11 Comments

The Inner Voice

Do we end up doing the kind of creative work we do by coincident or is there a bigger reason for why we end up doing paintings, songs, novels, graphics, poems or whatever we like to do? Like I am a photographer (but do other stuff as well, it has to be said). Was it purely coincidence that I ended up choosing this path?

At some point in my early life, I was surely inspired by close friends who picked up the camera and eventually got me interested in photography as well. None of them ever became professional photographers, but we had great fun in the exchange of our increasing passion. Later on during my academic studies the friend I was doing a master thesis together with, decided to pursue a photographic career instead. We were both avid photographers then, not professionals however, and were often out shooting together. Not long after he got a foot into a photo studio, I began pursuing a photographic career myself, but rather in a documentary direction.

Would I not have become a photographer without the push from my friends? Maybe so, but then maybe I would have discover my passion for photography anyway. I don’t know, but what I do know is that photography feels right for me. Generally, I feel alive when I can be creative, so maybe any other artistic work would have been just as fulfilling for me. Of course, there is such thing as talent, so maybe I wouldn’t have become good at sculpturing, for instance, or performances. However, I have never put much trust in talent, as I think it’s more inhibition than lack of talent that makes us turn away from certain endeavours.

What I know is I am a visual guy. I experience the world in a visual kind of way. I love reading, nevertheless, but when I read a novel, it’s like a movie running before my inner eye. It’s the same the other way around, when I am writing. Now I’d rather use an internal movie that I transcribe into words. Unnecessary to say then, that I love watching movies, and have probably watched more movies than most.

There are so many examples that show the way I visually orientate myself in the world. Like when using Google Maps to find direction from one place to another, I know many people who would rather print out a written description of the way. I, on the other hand, will always print out a map with the route. That is so much easier for me, and I never get lost.

Generally, I don’t get lost no matter where I go. It’s like my brain draws an internal map wherever I go, as I go. I never feel disorientated—well, almost never at least—even in places, I have never been before. After breaking up from my academic studies I went travelling for half a year, sort of my first attempt at making a living as a photographer. At some point two friends of mine, I was travelling together with for a while, and I flew into Hong Kong. It was night; it was dark and all quiet overwhelming with its busy streets and chaotic city layout. From the airport, we took a buss into downtown Kowloon on the mainland. Even if this was my first visit to Hong Kong, I could tell when we needed to get off the bus, knowing we were close by the hotel we had chosen to stay at. All from looking at a map in the airport.

The same many years later. I had just met my love one and was visiting her hometown, Seattle, for the first time. Back then she was teaching at a massage school situated in downtown Seattle. One of the first days, she took me up in Space Needle. While walking around the platform high above the city, she started to look for the school, wanting to point it out to me. We had visited the school the day before, and I could immediately pick it out from the top of the Space Needle. It took a minute or so before she could ratify I was right.

So, yes, I am very much a visual guy. What is my point? It may be coincidence however we end up doing the kind of creative work we do, but I still think we need to listen to our inner voice and bring it out in whatever way feels right for us. It’s not about talent, but finding the creative expression that spurs our passion.

What spurs your creative passion?

Posted in Creativity, Photography | Tagged , , | 48 Comments

Last Week’s Instagram

Munchow_1791-042_E

Once a week—or every so often—I will display one of my photos captured and/or processed with Instagram over the last week. It’s a way for me to show photography that usually is quite different from my regular work. Except for the technical details beneath the pictures are displayed without any comments, hoping they will stand on their own. But I still very much appreciate any comments you may have.

Facts about the photo: It was captured with a Lumix LX-100 sett at the equivalent of a 24 mm lens, 1/160 s and f/22, transferred to my cell phone and then processed in Instagram with the filter Kelvin.

Posted in Personal Work, Photography | Tagged , | 28 Comments

Replenishing the Creative Well

Last week I wrote about morning pages, a tool to access one’s creative well and to regain creativity if you have lost sight of it. This is something Julia Cameron describes in her book The Artist’s Way. But just as important, and as part of the creative development, is to replenish that creative well. While morning pages can be look upon as withdrawals from the well of creativity, what Cameron calls the artist date can be looked upon as deposits. Every so often we need to fill up the well with new impulses and give ourselves some nice experiences without having to be creative ourselves.

Cameron writes: «Think of this combination of tools in terms of a radio receiver and transmitter. It’s a two-step, two-directional process: in and then out. Doing your morning pages, you are sending – notifying yourself and the universe of your dreams, dissatisfaction, hopes. Doing your artist date, you are receiving—opening yourself to insight, inspiration, guidance».

The artist’s date is nothing but a treat to yourself. Going to a concert. Enjoying a moment of silence. Going for a walk. Watching a movie. Treating yourself with a nice meal. Visiting an art museum. Doing meditation. The important thing is that is has to be done by you and you only. No friends, no spouse, no kids, no lover, no dog, no colleague is allowed to come along. It’s a date with the artist within you, and only the two or you. Your inner artist needs to be taken out, to be pampered with and listened to. It doesn’t even have to cost anything. If you are running love on money, take a solo trip to the beach, visit a great junk store, make yourself an omelette or watch an old movie. It’s not about money, it is the time commitment that needs to be fulfilled. An artist date is a block of time, perhaps two hours weekly, especially set aside and committed to nurturing your creative consciousness, your inner artist. For both the morning pages and the artist date to work, you need to do it consistently over a longer period. Just as you need to write those three morning pages every day—every day—you need to treat yourself with an artist date every week—every week.

Cameron again: «As artists, we must learn to be self-nourished. We must become alert enough to consciously replenish our creative resources as we draw on them—to restock the trout pond, so to speak».

So go out there and have some fun. And know that it’s only doing good for your creative self. As a matter of fact it’s necessary.

As I am writing this, I realize I haven’t been nourishing my creative self for quite a long time. It’s been a lot of work lately. There has been time off, too, but spent with friends, family and love ones. It’s time to allocate some time for myself—and only for myself. Maybe go to a concert or maybe just take a couple of hours off, buy a cafe latte and sit down by the water contemplating life and what is good about it.

Posted in Creativity | Tagged , | 41 Comments

Last Week’s Instagram

Munchow_1790-002_E2

Once a week—or every so often—I will display one of my photos captured and/or processed with Instagram over the last week. It’s a way for me to show photography that usually is quite different from my regular work. Except for the technical details beneath the pictures are displayed without any comments, hoping they will stand on their own. But I still very much appreciate any comments you may have.

Facts about the photo: It was captured with a Lumix LX-100 sett at the equivalent of a 24 mm lens, 1/60 s and f/1.7, transferred to my cell phone and then processed with the app Pixlr-o-matic with the filter Hagrid and the frame Sloppy.

Posted in Personal Work, Photography | Tagged , | 37 Comments

Finding the Creative Well


It might sound a little strange, me being a photographer that is about to recommend anyone who is working creatively, to start writing. Because that is exactly what I am going to do—and I am going to recommend it even for photographers and other non-writers—yes, even if you think you can’t write. It’s about getting in touch with the enormous creative well that dwells within us all, but at times seems to be completely gone or empty. We all have days or weeks or even longer periods of time when we seem to be creatively stuck. Our imagination seems to have vanished, we can’t get anywhere, and we feel paralyzed. Writers talk about writer’s block, but it happens to everyone who is working creatively. A photographer might just as well talk about photographer’s block, a painter about painter’s block, a musician about musician’s block, and so on; name you creative field and the block follow suit.

The question is; why is that some days the creative well seems to have completely dried out, and, more importantly, how can we get access to it again? Because it isn’t really dried out, it seems empty only because we have lost sight of the source. What happens is only our own censorship that cuts the connection with the creative well. When we start to think «it’s not good enough», when we start to doubt our own creativity, that’s when the creative well starts to dry out—or seems to dry out. We are simply victims of our own internalized perfectionist, a nasty internal and eternal critic that resides in our (left) brain and keeps up a constant stream of subversive and negative remarks that are often disguised as the truth.

In her book The Artist’s Way Julia Cameron talks about the Censor. «The only sentences/paintings/sculptures/photographs the Censor likes are the one that it has seen many times before. Safe sentences. Safe paintings. Not exploratory blurts, squiggles, or jotting. Listen to your Censor and it will tell you that everything original is wrong/dangerous/rotten», she writes.

I have referred to Julia Cameron and The Artist’s Way before, simply because I think what she has to say about regaining one’s creativity and setting it free, is among the best ever written about the theme. Her book is actually a twelve week program for recovering of the creative spirit. She describes two tools for getting in touch with one’s creative well. First of all what she calls morning pages, which is daily unconscious writing, and the artist’s date, which is a way of filling the well again—and which I will write more about another time. For now I am just going to stick to the morning pages. It’s an incredible strong tool to make you dig into your inexhaustible well of creativity—even if you believe you cannot write.

Morning pages are in essence very simple. It’s three handwritten pages every morning as the first thing you do after waking up. You just sit down and write whatever comes to your mind, without consciously thinking, or without any censorship. Whatever pops into your mind gets down on the paper. It has nothing to do with art or good writing, but just streaming you mind onto paper. If nothing comes to you mind, then you only write «nothing comes to my mind» until you have filled three pages. As Cameron writes; «The morning pages are meant to be, simply, the act of moving the hand across the paper and writing whatever comes to mind. Nothing is too petty, too silly, too stupid, or too weird to be included».

The whole point is to retrieve you creativity. Morning pages get you to the other side; the other side of fear, of negativity, of your moods. Above all, they get you beyond your Censor. It actually works and I can only recommend you to give it a try. Not only a couple of times, but every day—I mean every day—for a longer period of time. Months. The one only rule, is not to skip a day. It works. After a while you start to see yourself, discover beauty within yourself, feel inspired. You are beginning to connect with your inner creative well again. Try it out! And more so I strongly recommend reading The Artist’s Way by Julia Camero—and try her twelve week program. Reconnect with your creative well.

Posted in Creativity, Photography | Tagged , , , | 81 Comments

Last Week’s Instagram

Munchow_1782-001_E2

Once a week—or every so often—I will display one of my photos captured and/or processed with Instagram over the last week. It’s a way for me to show photography that usually is quite different from my regular work. Except for the technical details beneath the pictures are displayed without any comments, hoping they will stand on their own. But I still very much appreciate any comments you may have.

Facts about the photo: It was captured with a Canon EOS 5D, transferred to my cell phone and then processed with the app Pixlr-o-matic with the filters Ivan and Rustie.

Posted in Personal Work, Photography | Tagged , | 31 Comments