Changing Direction

Now that yet another year is coming to an end and we heading into the holiday season—at least for many of us—I will take the opportunity to thank all of you, the readers of this blog, for your support and encouragement. Some of you have followed me since the beginning of my blogging, while others have been with me for much shorter time, yes, maybe for some of you, this post will be a first introduction to my blog. I appreciate every single one of you who has been with me, whether short or long.

I wrote my first blog in June 2011. That’s seven and a half years ago. Not bad, I think… It’s been quite a travel, in which I have look at various aspects of the creative process primarily based on my own experience as a photographer. As a matter of fact, I have learned as much as I hope any of you have from my blogging. When I started out I only knew I would write about creativity, although back then I had not much knowledge about the creative process, besides what my own experience had taught me. Since then I have read every book I have come across on creativity, whether it was plain inspirational books or heavy, scientific studies about how the creative process functions, mentally, sociologically, spiritually and, yes, even physiological. I think it’s fair to say that over the years I have gotten some insight into what it means to be creative.

As 2018 is closing in on us, I feel like I have come to an end of that road I started out in 2011. Lately, I have more and more come to believe that I am repeating myself, that I hardly have anything new to offer about the creative process. It’s not that I know everything that is to be known about the creative process—by far—but I need to find a different approach, I need to find new roads I can follow, both as a photographer and a blogger. Creativity will always be the foundation of this blog, but I want to expand.

However, right now at the present moment, I don’t know in which direction I am heading. Rather, I am going to use the holidays to contemplate about the future of this blog. When I get back with new posts next year it won’t be a revolution, but my hope is slowly over time to make significant changes in how and about what I write and emphasize.

For some time now, I have been thinking about how I can use my skills as a photographer more directly in my blogging. For instance, I have been mulling over the idea of posting practical tips about how to capture better photographs. At the same time I am aware that so many bloggers do exactly that, so then the question is how can I add anything different to the mix—or can I even? I have also considered writing posts in which I tell about what goes on behind the scene, showing how I am thinking when I am out on assignment. Again, the question is what value that brings to my readers—something different that’s not already out there? Finally, I have reflected on finding a way to give concrete feedback for any challenges you, the readers, are struggling with or just feedback on photos you take. For time to time, I have offered picture critique on my blog, but I find that the format hasn’t really been working good enough.

So many thoughts and so many reservations. What to do?

One thing I am sure about; I want to throw myself out on deep water. So often, I have written about stepping outside of the box, taking chances, face you own fear in the creative process. That is exactly what my blog needs at this stage. It needs some fireworks and colouring outside the lines, it needs to break free from whatever it has become. Or maybe it’s only me that need to allow myself some more freedom from my own restrictions, more don’t give a damn.

May I throw a curveball out to you, my reader? While I spend the holiday contemplating what I am going to do with the blog, maybe I can ask for your thoughts. What would you like this blog to be for you? How can it be more useful and more inspirational for you? Do you see a way in which you may use my expertise as a photographer (and a creative inspirer) more in line of your own needs? If you have any thoughts, please don’t hesitate to bring them fourth in a comment below. One more thing; if you have come across a book or some documentation about the creative process that you thought was extraordinary, could I ask to list that for me? I still want to learn more about developing our creative abilities.

Finally, I wish all of you Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year. I’ll see you again next year.


129 thoughts on “Changing Direction

  1. I think I do know the feeling, I am asking myself the same questions, maybe not the same but similar…and I don’t have answers yet…not sure I will ever find them, now just want to get back to painting, photography and others things I do…Happy holidays and good reflection, we keep doing our things, we just don’t know how it will come out I guess.

  2. It is hard to find fault or even suggest a change in your blog format, plan, or ideas expressed. I would love to see more of your photography Otto. There’s a good book on the creative process by Michael Kimmelman: The Accidental Masterpiece. Have a happy holiday season, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

  3. YES. Yes, you may throw a curve ball at this reader! Evolution is a good thing (and also essential for creative growth). Whatever direction you choose for your blog, I know it will continue to be interesting and rewarding. Happy holidays to you, Otto … and thank you for all you have taught me.

  4. Well, at the risk of sounding negative can I say that maybe you’re over-thinking it? Please know, I say this respectfully and with such kindness. I understand the thought process, but it’s unnecessary. As a writer I realized long ago that every story has already been told. I studied Shakespeare in college for three semesters (not by choice mind you, but that’s another story) and he pretty much ran the gamut on story-telling. What I mean is, most stories have already been told regardless of genre – but HOW you tell it is what makes it fascinating! WHO you ARE and what you bring to the table with your experience and flavor is what makes it unique and fascinating. I would surmise that the same hold true in photography and any other art form. You and I can take the same picture, and I’m positive they would be different photographs. I’m going to through the question out to you: what do YOU want to write about? What do you want to teach me. What do you feel like sharing? Maybe, instead of looking for a new “what am I going to do with this blog” thingamajig, why now just open it up to “anything” goes and see what happens. Maybe that won’t work for you — and I get it, but I wanted to share that anyways. I like reading your stuff not because I care at all about photography (because you know I don’t) but because I like WHO you are in your writing. What you offer to inspire, teach and create. You motivate and help those who have nothing to do with taking pics. THAT’s the true brilliance of ART. It’s NOT about who great your photos are, but how you move someone through your art. Whatever you do, don’t change that part. I’m not sure you could actually, but thought I’d mention it.

    Me, I’m going to try and do a better job of posting what I write more regularly. Truth is, I write every single day without fail. But I’m not always sure I want to share it in it’s raw form and never really want to go back and edit. Writing is such a personal therapeutic exercise for me and after publishing my first book this past June, I have been surprised by how my writing affects (effects? – I always get those words confused, apologies) other people. I think it’s a good thing. Not sure I’m as comfortable with that as you might think, but I’m getting there. So, my goal is to share more. That’s it.

    I love who I think you are as an artist and teacher. I look forward to what’s next.

    One of your NON-camera picture taking fans.

    1. Thank you for sharing you poignant thoughts. And I absolutely agree with you. If you look at the plain facts, everything has already been done, but as is your point, not be me or you or whoever. I have actually written a post about this sometime during these seven years. But don’t ask me when… Maybe I am overthinking things, as you suggest. Still, the problem is maybe I am a little bored with myself and what I do. So at least for myself, I need a shift of direction. In the end this blog will always have to be something I want to do. That is the only true motivation. I certainly don’t believe in trying to figure out what the audience would like or prefer. That is neither the point with my curveball question. I only hoped for some ideas—and some good discussions, as you so very well provide here. Just your answer is worth the whole curveball and the post. 🙂 Sharing the raw creative product is always hard, but something I should think about too. In many ways it’s more honest than the final polish product, whether it’s a photograph or a text. Thank you so much for all your inspiration here, Carmen. I do really appreciate it.

  5. Happy Holidays, Otto, and happy contemplations to you, too. Maybe it’s something in the air or in the world of blogging. I have been having similar thoughts on change and pushing myself off the comfortable edge I’ve been sitting on. I enjoy your posts on creativity, but understand the need to move on. I always enjoy learning about what’s behind an image (what caught the photographer’s eye, why that particular composition or place or time). And your critiques have been helpful to me even though I’ve been too chicken to submit one of my own photos. Good luck, and I look forward to whatever your new direction brings us. 🙂

  6. Have wonderful holidays, Otto. I have learned so much from your blog posts over the years. I’d love to see a little bit of the behind the scenes when you’re out on assignment, and how you prepare for those assignments. And everything you offer is always the icing on the cake for me.

  7. I don’t always read your posts, but whenever I do, I enjoy them quite a bit. I would personally benefit from practical tips in future issues, as I don’t read any other photography blog…

  8. Dear Otto, how nice of you as always. One of nice and good things in this blogging world, to meet with you, I always loved your posts, and your photography and experiences that you share with us. But I can almost understand you… Maybe not same as yours, but I am thinking too… what can I do for The New Year… I don’t know yet… But your offer about photography and creativity are always great, and yes, maybe more photographs dear Otto! You know I wished to attend one of your workshops… Anyway, I hope and wish you find a new touches, new inspirations… Thank you for sharing with us, and being with us. Happy Holiday and Merry Christmas, Love, nia

    1. Thank you Nia, I have always appreciated your visit. You were actually one of the very first to comment on one of my blog post. May we both have some fruitful thoughts about our blogs. Wish you all the best for the Holidays.

  9. >> May I throw a curveball out to you, my reader?
    Curveball? It is a sweet invitation! 😉

    >> I have also considered writing posts in which I tell about what goes on behind the scene…
    I love this idea. And I beg you not just show us the final photo; show us some tried-but-not-satisfied photos, too.

    >> I have offered picture critique…
    Instead of just giving feedback in words, I would like to see some photos that go with your words. For example, if I submit a portrait to you, instead of telling me the light isn’t the best (is the worst?), show me some of your photos that would demonstrate your point.

    I am sure I will have more ideas… I am greedy. Ha. Thanks for all the wonderful lessons! I appreciate them. Happy Holidays to you and your family.

  10. Have a wonderful festive season break Otto, and come back to us refreshed and relaxed. I love your Blog, the photos are always interesting but it is the words that keep me coming back again and again. I don’t follow you on Instagram as there are enough photos out there and I find just more photos overwhelming. As photographers I don’t think we HEAR enough about the creative process, how hard it is, how exciting it can be and how rewarding.
    There are very few professional photographers talking sensibly about the creative process and many that offer advice or quick tips or a ‘new’ digital workshop. It is this creative voice of yours that keeps me on track and still enthusiastic for making new and different images.
    Whatever you decide will still have your voice and sensibilities behind it, which will be OK with me.
    Best wishes to you and your loved ones.

    1. Thank you for those encouraging words, Lee. I like to think that I have something to say, more than just a quick fix (and I don’t believe in quick fixes, anyway). I will definitely not stop writing about the creative process, that will probably still be the backbone of my blog, But I do want to experiment more and loosen up the blog. Right now I have vague ideas, but nothing clear and bright in my head. I wish you a wonderful holiday season, yourself.

  11. It can be so hard to keep a blog moving, and fresh. I’ve really stepped back from mine, after 7 years it needs a break. I would like to hear about how you creatively approach an assignment. That seems hard to me, as I just shoot what I like.

  12. I always look forward to your thoughtful posts Otto, and seeing your photo’s from the workshops, (especially cuba) and instagram. I wouldn’t mind seeing how you do your work assignments, just because I’m nosy! 🙂 Have good rest and a cool Yule. 🎄

  13. Keeping it fresh, both for yourself and for readers, isn’t easy, Otto. I started September 2011 and I can hardly believe where the time has gone. I like the freedom that I have here, to be whoever I want to be, and to learn from some of the very best. I hope that you continue to find fulfilment in what you share, and I wish for you and your family a healthy, happy 2019. 🙂 🙂

    1. Thank you, Jo. I will definitely keep sharing, I just need to adjust find a way to keep it fresh. We all try to develop our blogs, don’t we. I wish you all the best for the new year.

  14. Otto, I completely understand your moment of introspection, and need to contemplate the next step or steps in your journey. Inspiration comes from many spaces, and the most telling is deep from within that stirs where you are right now. While they is esoteric, that place seeks experimentation and new direction. The process is unique to all of us, yet it is similar: finding the spark that illuminates forward movement. I’ll be thinking about books to suggest.

  15. Dear Otto – I LOVE you blog – you cannot imagine how much encouragement and energy it has given me, especially when I am not feeling confident about my creativity or photography skills. On your new path, would you consider mentoring “change of mid-life career” people to achieve creating a portfolio to submit to a professional photography course or teach??? I would be the first to sign up.

    Wherever your decisions and contemplation takes you, have an inspirational and wonderful Christmas holiday with friends and family!!

    1. Thank you for the lovely words, It’s always encouraging to know that whatever you do can be of some inspiration for others. I like your idea for a mentor-ship. I will take that into consideration and how it may practically be conducted. I wish you a lovely Holiday Season, Jacqueline.

  16. Hi Otto! Happy Holidays to you too!! have you read the little story about ‘Hemlock’ on my blog?… the search for truth and beauty? perhaps you could come at it all from a standpoint of ‘chasing joy’… expanding on what is right, instead of correcting what is wrong? perhaps encouragement about what is right will naturally correct what is wrong… hmmmm? when i submit my photos to you, you are so inspirational and kind to me, that it makes me want to try harder… tho i have only had a phone for a camera for a couple of years lol but that’s going to change this christmas! anyway, that’s my suggestion! wooohoooo!!

    1. Strangely enough, I have not read you Hemlock-story, so that’s a first. Otherwise, I agree with you that it’s better to expand on what is right rather what is wrong. I think that is my underlying philosophy in my teaching workshops. At the same time, I am not afraid to point out where there are possibilities to improve. Chasing joy is a good approach. Thank you for the lovely comment, Elaine. Enjoy your new camera! And Happy Holidays to you, too.

      1. of course, you are very good already at what i am suggesting!! otherwise i wouldn’t give you my photos for your learned opinion 🙂 you learned the right stuff xoxox

  17. Dearest Otto, I have always enjoyed your stories during your travels, and the families you’ve adopted from faraway. You share so much insightful information, as well. I’m also at a crossroad and am finding it difficult to keep up with my blog as well as regularly visiting others. I’m not sure what next year will bring, but life is an amazing journey. I wish you well in your self-discovery and consider myself fortunate to have found your blog. Please keep me posted about Seattle’s class if it’s still a possibility. If I’m unable to attend, I at least would enjoy dropping by and saying “hello.”

    1. Life is indeed an amazing journey. Part of it is exactly that we don’t know what it brings. We can plan and prepare, and then suddenly something comes in from the side that may change the course completely. Seattle is in the book for September. Would be great even with a dropping by. Thank you for your lovely comment, Rose.

  18. Otto, I find so much inspiration in your blogs already, but of course I always like the idea of expanding oneself and growing. I love this idea of yours: “I have also considered writing posts in which I tell about what goes on behind the scene, showing how I am thinking when I am out on assignment.” I’d love the more personal angle, why you are attracted to the shots you take, what you think about. I always love a personal experience. 🙂

  19. Recently, I purchased my first polarizing filter. When I went out to play (!!) with it, I photographed a remarkable sight in the sky. It reminded me of a favorite poem by Antonio Machado, and I paired them on my blog. I thought of Machado’s words as I was reading your post:

    Wayfarer, the only way
    is your footsteps, there is no other.
    Wayfarer, there is no way,
    you make the way by walking.

    Perhaps a grand plan isn’t necessary. Perhaps a few months of wandering, led by your inclinations and pleasures, will do the trick. I call it intuitive planning, and the best results often aren’t seen until some time has passed. Inviting your readers to come with you on your journey — wherever it leads — will be pleasing to us, and perhaps suprisingly satisfying to you.

    1. I do like the quote by Machado. Holds plenty of wisdom, that I believe in, too. I certainly don’t have a great plan in mind for the blog. It will change as I walk the way. Still, small steps are necessary to take in order to change things, like buying a polarizing filter. Which is what I will do for my blog—figuratively speaking. And talking about polarizing filters, the real thing I mean, I have not used those for at least 15 years, probably more. I am thinking I maybe ought to rediscover their magic. Thanks for the thoughtful post, Linda.

  20. As an ardent fan of your blog, I can assure you that every writer has something to say and the reader can learn no matter how much the subject has been written about before. We all have a different perspective and do what we do for a different reason. Most of us don’t follow a textbook and I might suggest an artist who follows a textbook is not revealing their individual style and creativity. (I’ll never forget the comment on one of my blogs that criticised me for not using the Rule of Thirds, as though I was ‘wrong’ in my composition. My reply included something like ‘knowing when to change the rules” is also important).

    As Tiny said, I would like to see more of your photos. They don’t have to be any specific subject either. Just storytelling in pictures.

    I’m a visual person, so I like to see a series of photos of a single subject sometimes, from various angles and different light/time of day (or camera lens). What drew your eye to that particular subject and what you were trying to achieve. Mood or emotion, visual balance. texture, line or shape, capturing a true representation of the scene OR something quite different in terms of style.

    As Carmen said…….maybe you’re overthinking it.

    Don’t feel you have to write ‘xyz’ number of sentences or paragraphs. A writer doesn’t necessarily have to have a subject to write about. Sometimes the words become music and it’s the dance or song that appeals. The drama or mundane. Short or long. Bright or subdued. Humble or Majestic. Don’t necessarily write a typical introduction, middle and ending (to sum it up).

    Set yourself a visual challenge and veer off the path of the journalist or teacher.

    1. I really appreciate your comment and encouraging feedback, Vicki. It does seem like there is a general wish to see more photos on mu blog. And reveal more about my thinking process while taking photos. On rules: I completely agree with you that whatever we do, in life, in arts, in daily survival, we should not feel like we have to follow rules. Guidelines can be OK, but not if they become cages.

  21. Ever the creator, the bold one, never standing in one place! That is you. Seven and half years is a worthy record. It is difficult to keep at a blog as regularly as you do and also to juggle all the other needs of life.

    I like your “behind the scenes” idea. I think that could be a useful way to spark new process and new ideas for your readers. But I also adore your critiques. I can imagine that your critique process could be especially challenging. But what if you did a series of critiques of submitted work and/or critiques of classic photos of other artists? You might have to be careful about copyright issues, but I bet it could be done. I envision the series to consist of one image per post. (possible two or three similar images for compare/contrast)

    In any case, I wish you a lovely temporary break from blogging and look forward to a renewed Otto. Enjoy the holiday!

    1. I like all your inputs. Picture critiquing other artists could be fun if for instance we could have a reciprocal exchange. A two-ways critique in other words. And behind the scenes seems like something I seriously need to think about. 🙂 Thank you, Linda. may you have a great holiday season, too.

  22. When I started my blog just a few months ago, your blog was the first I read. I enjoy the flow of your writing. And this post right here got me thinking if I am on track as well. I am still learning and your creativity inspires me a lot. Your photo of the bucket on a tree is very unique, it tells a lot about your thoughts behind every capture.
    Best of all, your comment on my post. It made my day.
    Thanks for sharing your creativity with us.

    1. It’s always fun to exchange experiences, isn’t it. That’s why we visit each other’s blogs. I enjoyed your blog, and will come back again. Keep the flow flowing. Thank you for the comment, Buayifa.

  23. I hope you are not torturing yourself too much, dear Otto. Just remember that there is nothing new under the sun. All you can do is present your view of your reality, and that will be unique.
    I hope you will enjoy the holidays.
    Best wishes,

    1. No, I am not torturing myself, but still want to throw myself out on deep water. Just to feel the excitement of something new (even if it’s not really new). Thank you, Tanja. I wish you all the best for the holidays.

  24. Har följt din blogg nästan lika länge som jag fotat och har haft så stor nytta av att få ta del av dina artiklar, e-workshop samt bildkritik i olika former. Tusen tack Otto! Önskar dig en fin och välförtjänt ledighet. 🙂

  25. Perhaps putting your thoughts and photographs on a blog is about connecting and also making sense of the World. Hopefully this experience will continue in whatever way you feel happy but maybe when you feel as you do – its because you need to travel not always by movement and have new experiences and see new horizons. When you come back to your own part of this World you will see with fresh eyes and be ready to make your next move.

  26. I planned to visit Cuba many years ago for a landmark birthday. I then stumbled onto your blog and the photos made me resolute in visiting, which I am happy to say I did so last year. Thank you for that. Here’s to wishing you happy holidays and hoping that you manage to find a way of moving on to your next adventure.

  27. Otto, you are a very spiritual person and the world needs better perspective on how we are all connected. The topic of my next class is going to be on how we can make a difference in a world facing climate change, famine, corruption and dehumanization….on how we can walk a spiritual path in today’s world. We’ve lost our perspective on how powerful we are in creating change and how sacred life really is. This is what I want to address. You are in a perfect position to create a visual notebook on addressing this very topic. Along with your comments on what you are seeing as you capture those views.
    I’ve so enjoyed your blog and am glad that you are not going to end it. And I look forward to seeing what direction you take in the new year. Happy holidays to you and yours.

    1. Ending the blog was never an option. The topic for your class is ever more important in these times, when we human beings seem to lose touch with what is essential to life. Thank you for the thoughtful comment, Tovarysh. I wish you a wonderful holiday season.

  28. I really enjoy your blogs Otto – very thought-provoking which I lack when I do my blogs. I find all the social media and You Tube pressures that seem to be required to keep your blog interesting to others, especially new followers, is very time consuming and a greater stress each year. When I started blogging 8 years ago there was not so much of that going on. It is hard to keep up with all the changes now and it definitely takes away from what I really love which is Photoshop. I find it very easy to get burned out. Sometimes it does help just to walk away for awhile and refocus. I have been doing that more and more. Good luck with your decision, but please keep blogging, at least some. I find your personal perspective very refreshing. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

    1. I do not intend to stop blogging or even slowing down, but you are right, there is more and more pressure from social media to amp up everything to get more likes, more followers and more connections. My way to deal with it is to ignore it. I post whatever is important to me or what I like to post about, not what I think others might like. And hope others might find some value in it, of course. Like I do with you posts about photoshoping. Thank you for the lovely words, Syd, and may you have a wonderful holiday season, too.

  29. I think I’ve been writing my blog for about six years and this year I’ve found it hard to keep going and devote enough time to writing and reading and commenting. And over the years a lot of the photographers that were around on WordPress when I started have drifted away – some to Instagram, some never to be heard or seen again. Such is life, I guess. Nothing stays the same for ever. Creativity lies at the heart of photography and I have always enjoyed the way you write about it. There will always be a place for writing about creativity – partly because your audience changes, partly because we need constant reminders, and partly because every time we read about the subject we refresh ourselves.
    So, keep up the good work Otto. One thought occurs and it’s driven by what you write today. You mention the books you have read – how about once a month writing a review of a book that you recommend some of us should read.
    I wish you a Happy Holiday and a peaceful New Year – time to refresh and consider. All the best Otto.

    1. Thank you for the encouraging words, Andy. And I think you are right in that there will always be a place for writing about creativity, for the various reasons you mention. I have also noticed that a lot of people I started out communicating with in the blog sphere have disappeared. Finally, I like your suggestion. I will definitely take book reviewing into consideration for where I will take the blog further. I wish you a wonderful holiday season and all the best in the new year.

  30. I’ll be interested to see where you go with things. Having followed you for quite a while I’m sure whatever you do will be interesting. I’ve felt the same stagnation sometimes, but I usually just push myself forward to see where I end up. Wishing you the best with your blogging and for a happy holiday!

  31. Bonjour Otto! I have a question 😛
    have you planned any travel to France on 2019? it is just a suggestion! 😛
    Don’t miss an opportunity to capture…some interesting, powerful events, unique ‘Raw footage’…. ;-)))))
    in the meantime 😉 I wish you a wonderful holiday season.
    see you:)

  32. Sorry I’m so late commenting, Otto. I would be interested in knowing a little of what goes on when you’re on assignment – and before – and after – in terms of how you think about what you need to do. Tips can be good too, but I know it’s hard to do that when you have a readership with such a wide range of expertise – how do you give tips to people at so many levels? Anyway, I trust you will find a way to renew things to your satisfaction. As for books, I’ve enjoyed books on Contemplative Photography – I may have already told you that. I’m curious about a book called Silence: In the Age of Noise, by Erling Kagge, a Norwegian – maybe you know the book? It’s not about photography but it sounds interesting. And I’m looking at an old copy of The Tao of Photography these days.
    I hope you had an enjoyable Christmas and wish you a 2019 full of growth and pleasure.

    1. Thanks for the feedback, Lynn, and for the book recommendations. I do have a copy of the Tao of Photography and it’s been one of my favourite books in the genre. I do know Erling Kagge, but not the book you mention, so I will have to look this one up. I did have a peaceful and lovely holiday. I wish you all the best for 2019.

  33. Hi Otto, when looking for things to write, sometimes I think of gaps of information people may not know or understand well. For example, maybe people do understand photography and creative processes, but what kind of questions can they ask to fill the gaps to create something beyond that and become better? Not just ‘how do I do this’ but things like ‘what are some ways I can think about myself and try? Can I just move my body to get a better angle and lighting for this shot?’

    The thing about writing is that sometimes people write in a way they think people would understand, like how I would show a child how to pipe cream on a cupcake – just squeeze and move your wrist, hold your hand at a 45 degree angle but I think she didn’t get it. She tried a few more times. I realised the issue wasn’t that she didn’t understand what I said or showed her, but I didn’t realise her hands were too small to do it the same way I did it, because that’s what I learnt in school. Her hand is only the size of my palm, so she always have a new way to do something I showed her. What are some things that are done differently because others have limitations you don’t?

    Just for fun, perhaps you can try going for a photography day trip with a child or someone who is much less experienced and see how it goes. It sounds silly but I used to think wide angle lenses are better for taking landscape shots, so I was always trying to capture everything in detail but she just focused on some nice things with her phone camera.

    I watched a film recently about the creative process and career of Japanese film music composer Ryuichi Sakamoto ( How do you capture and create sound that brings out the emotion of a scene plus something magical? He has to answer this question every time he compose something, which is quite interesting to see how he does it.

    Photography and sound/music are fascinating because they express something without words to the viewer who is not at the scene you were at. Things like the beauty of purity of water, strong winds, a silent forest or desolation in a tsunami-hit abandoned place.

    1. Thank you for a thoughtful and mindful comment, Nicole. I think you touch on something very important here. In teaching or when giving advise we should not only give simple directions and how-to but try to find more fundamental ways to help each person to find his or her own way. It’s about communication but it’s also about understanding deeper levels of how we develop ourselves and progress. I like your suggestion of a day trip with a child. I am sure it would be a revelation, and something I seriously will consider doing in one form or another.

  34. We started our blogs about the same time, Otto. I have enjoyed the kind and encouraging tones you’ve taken throughout. I know that you’ve enlarged my vision of creativity, and I’d miss your posts. I’ve always enjoyed the beauty of your photography and in particular, the people you call “family” in Cuba. I have many warm and caring thoughts as I think of you. But I do understand how it becomes more of a challenge to say anything new! I am struggling in the same vein. I hope the new year brings you clarity in purpose and much joy. I’ll be interested in hearing your thoughts after the holidays.

    1. Thank you for the lovely words, Debra. Like you, I have enjoyed the journey we have taken together and certainly enjoyed your blog. Let’s hope both of us find ways to develop our blogs in new ways.

  35. My first observation… you have almost 100 comments on this one post, which is just a fraction of how many have actually read it. That tells me people think what you are saying is still relevant. The other thing I want to add is that, even though I started reading your blog as a photographer, I continue reading it even though my real estate career has pushed my photography to the side for the time being, because you write about overcoming challenges, creativity, persistence… all things that are relevant to so much more than just photography. I hope you continue. Don’t feel it has to be exactly the same all the time. You have an original voice and I’m grateful you share it!

    1. Thank you for the encouraging words, Barbara. It means a lot to know that people like you enjoy reading my posts. I am not in any way giving up blogging, but has just come to a crossroad and need to find out which direction to take.

  36. HI Otto, sorry to be late here. For a moment I was frightened by this post being afraid you wanted to stop blogging!
    Luckily it’s not the case 🙂
    I understand after many years blogging there is the desire to renew, to make some changing. What I like in your blog is the attention to the various aspects of creativity and your incentives to work hard. Not to give up. And all your suggestions can be applied not only to photography but to many other aspects of our lives. Whatever you’ll be doing I’ll follow you with attention and pleasure.
    Suggestions? Not sure I have any, keep being yourself and open as you have always been. It works well.
    With friendship, robert

    1. Thank you for your words and friendship, Robert. I think the best advise in any situation in life is to be yourself, as you make a point about. Not always, easy though, is it…

  37. Whatever you decide to do will be the right direction, until something else may come up to alter your course, sometimes we feel like we do not have anything else to add, or write, and then one day you cannot have enough time to put in writing, all the stuff that come up, overflowing like a flooding river! 🙂

  38. Happy New Year! I do hope to see you back in this space this year. I have to say as far as content, I think I enjoy your content in part because I think it is meaningful to you, so I would encourage you to let that idea be your guide.

    1. I don’t think I could do much if it weren’t meaningful for me. So you advice will in many ways be easy to follow (but still result in challenges…). Thank you, Maranto.

  39. Happy new year. Thank you for your insight full articles. They helped me persevere when my inspiration runs out and I feel discouraged about the little creative things I do. I wish you well and again, thank you for thinking about your readers.

  40. I hear you and also think we like to hear thoughts about creativity in different ways and from different angles. These refreshers and discussions can invigorate us, or even steer us in new directions. I always get something from your posts! How about showing us through specific examples and sharing your thought process on how you are going to deconstruct and step outside the box.

  41. I deeply enjoy your soothing and sophisticated format of writing along with all your beautiful photographs!
    We all are looking forward to all the new projects you plan to take up this year.☺

  42. Otto! In all honesty, your posts, no matter the subject will be of use to me. You have such a wonderful, giving and comfortable way of expression, whether in your visuals or through your words. I will take any road with you.
    I came to an impasse myself and now contemplating getting back to the ‘inspirational’ posts which is why I began to blog in the first place.
    It seems as though sticking to one thing is sometimes not satisfying and yet going off the course is less so.

    I’m going to take the time it needs as I’m sure you will as well. Blessings for a brave new year!

  43. Otto, I have started and erased my comment a dozen times. I can sympathize with you as you measure your next steps with the website and content. Interestingly, that is also part of the creative process–the struggle within ourselves to evaluate the things we are attempting to do and expanding and improving the “voice” we want so much to share. Follow your own thoughts and your heart with that. Please know that your articles are thought-provoking and any other helps, ideas, jewels of inspiration, challenges, etc. that come our way always add a lot to the mix. I’m sure it will all unfold for you in its own time.
    You do a great job…and I appreciate it.

    1. Evaluating one’s own work is indeed part of the creative process. Sometimes it’s a struggle and sometimes it’s just easy to come around and keep going—just like the creative process itself. Thanks for the thoughtful comment, I have always valued your opinion very much, Phil.

  44. Dear Otto,
    I am just now reading your blog post about you possibly changing the direction of your projects. Please forgive my lateness. First of all, I must say thank you for how you have taken time in the past to visit my blog, which has nearly all but shut down. I seldom blog. I do miss it. I suppose I have ventured away and don’t take the time to gather thoughts and write blog posts very often any more. I admire those who do. And I truly enjoy your posts. So, whatever direction you do take, and however you change your sails, I hope our paths will still cross from time to time. Your blog posts are well thought out, very insightful, and I do enjoy them. Your photography is excellent.
    Best wishes and happy new year 2019 to you.
    All the best,

  45. I too, am late in seeing this post, Otto – first read your next post. I know though, that you will find new ways to expand, to explore, to teach, to learn, to discuss and to communicate. It is in you. Whatever you decide to do, we will always love your posts and look forward to them. They are eye openers, intriguing, and serenely you – or, you make them feel serenely you. You are for real, while today, so many people are not. Thank you for being there, always positive and pushing forward, making us see new possibilities. All the best for the new year.

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