Photography is a serious business. But it doesn’t need to be – not always. I know for certain I too often take it too seriously. We sometimes – or more to the point: regularly – need to play more with our artistic expression. Have fun. Creativity is in the first place fun, so why do I not let myself play more when I take photos or process the photos? Is it my reputation as a photographer I am worried about – or is it just that getting old has left the child in me behind somewhere in life? I am reminded of what Picasso said about creativity, the child in us and getting older.
Part of playing and having fun is letting go of expectations – not expecting high quality in the end result. Playing means letting go and just see what happens in the process and where it will take us. That’s the beauty when we can let go – we find new places, we find untracked paths for our creativity. We discover new faces behind our habitual mask. I think that’s one reason why Instagram or Hipstamatic has become so popular; those apps let us play with photography so easily (and of course share the result so easily – too easily?), but maybe that is also their embedded flaw; they are just to easy to use and thus don’t really make us challenge ourselves enough, don’t make us play in fullest. What I am saying is, let’s lower the guard, and play – I was about to say play seriously, but at least play more profoundly. And let’s drop preconceived ideas about what is good and bad or correct and incorrect.
Take myself for instance; I know I am often critical of technique for technique’s sake. I often see HDR as plain trickery, a superficial technique, not adding much to an image’s expression. I often see the use of Photoshop filters the same way. As pure playing with technique. Or any other technical manipulation; in general I don’t see it is anything but an attempt to hide what in the first place was an uninteresting picture. As pure play and fun. And that is exactly my point in this post. So what? Play and have fun – and I should do so more myself – and let go of all rigid and predetermined ideas of what is the right way.
In order to take up on my own words, I let go of this preconceived ideas of mine, sat down with Photoshop and played with filters and various add-on’s for instance from Nik Software. And as part of challenging myself, I posted some of the resulting images in this post. The original photo is below. So go out and have more fun!