Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Getting "Out of the Box" . . .

 by Kim

"Photography is the ideal medium in which to challenge assumptions, because of all art forms, it is one people most expect to represent reality . . . The creative photographer grapples with these expectations, shaping or altering reality by the way he or she approaches a subject."
- Keith A. Boas

"Out of the box" is an expression that describes nonconformal, creative thinking. But sometimes, or it may be safe to say often, stepping or climbing out of the box means stepping away from our comfort zone. But who can blame us when it feels safe in there, after all we know what to expect. And hey, Gumby looks pretty happy!

I'm going to change gears here for a second, but I promise it will all make sense. With our cameras in hand we can do two things, record or create. We can capture a snapshot frozen in time that records history in the sense that it says I was here, or we can use our camera armed with our imagination to create a work of art.  

Now I'm not at all saying we don't use our imagination to a certain extent when we record, we absolutely do and it's what makes us all unique. I'm also not talking about never "recording", because I certainly do plenty of that. What I am talking about is stepping out of the "record" box and looking at the same thing as everyone else and creating something wildly different. Okay, wildly may be pushing it, so I would be happy with just different.

Creating art is not about always conforming to rules. Sometimes we get so caught up in the rules that we forget to experiment, to just simply follow our hearts. I say pay no attention to the man behind the curtain because photography is so much more than the gear in our bags, or what computer programs we use. More than rules of thirds, composition, focus and correct exposures.

It's about vision and how we choose to express it.  It's about interpretation and it is  . . . about us. If we continually try to capture the world around us the way it appears to our eyes, then we will never break the boundaries that take us from photographer to artist.

I have to laugh at myself. When I first started out I was met with so much frustration for not being able to capture things the way I saw them with my eyes. Now I find myself wanting to capture how they make me feel which sometimes has nothing to do with the way it really looks.

Ansel Adams said, "The single most important component of a camera is the twelve inches behind it." And it's why no one has ever been able to duplicate his images. The truth is great photographs have less to do with the camera we carry and more of what could be with what we see.

It's taken me some time to figure this out, to know that I can ignore my camera meter because it can only capture light, not create art. That the only way I can become an artist behind the lens (in the way that I want to become) is to take risks and explore possibilities and different options. And . . . to not be concerned with what anyone else thinks about it.

This photo is my "out of the box" at the moment. I have in the last six months or more been captivated by painting with my lens using slow shutter speeds while hand holding the camera. Trying different techniques to achieve the look I'm wanting or envisioning. I have gone from abstract to impressionistic, especially with all the flowers that come at this time of year. I cropped and slightly adjusted my exposure to the left which saturated the colors a bit, but otherwise I did nothing else to this photo, no textures, no soften, etc. as it was all done in camera.

"Leap into the boundless and make it your home." - Chuang Tzu

P.S. - I found this short 4 minute video about stepping out of your box. It pertains to life in general...I dare you to not laugh! ;) Happy Tuesday!


Jeanne said...

Ok so I loved that little video and isn't it so true. Your post is very thought provoking Kim and i love your method of stepping out of the box. Painting with your camera... looks like great fun!

CarolHart said...

Great post. Love your photographic painting.

Carol said...

Beautifully written, and always good for us to put those tippy-toes outside that darned box! Go for it! And love that you are playing around and finding your individual style!

Linda said...

I enjoyed this post, Kim! Your camera painting image is great! I love that quote! The 12 inches behind the camera is why no one can duplicate any other photo! We all see and interpret differently!

Dotti said...

So much to love about everything in your post today, Kim! Love your little Gumby!! This is so timely, I've been doing a lot of thinking lately about how to see and do things differently in my photography. Thanks for the inspiration!

Leigh said...

Such a great post Kim! It is so freeing to throw the rules out the window and to create what you feel is beautiful.

Deanna said...

Stepping out of my box (comfort zone) is something I have been doing quite a bit of lately due to circumstances beyond my control....sometimes it is uncomfortable but I think however you step out of your box it makes us grow, both in our photography and in life.

Linda/patchwork said...

I used to paint...with oils on canvas. My art teacher would often give the class a scene to paint...a bowl of apples, a scarf thrown over a chair...and NOT ONE painting looked the same as another. We all see things differently.

Your 'painting with your camera' is lovely.

We all need to step out of that box. After all...if it doesn't work, there's always that delete button.

Oh...if life was only that simple.

terriporter said...

Oh, I can really relate to this post! I find it so hard to climb out of my box and so rewarding when I do! Love your "painterly" photo. It's something I have never tried but I love that look and do it in Photoshop all the time so I really want to try capturing it in camera. Thanks for the encouragement to try something new once in awhile!

kelly said...

this really speaks to me so much kim...just starting to experience that in my own photographic journey. love what you've done with this in-camera technique! can totally see that hanging on a wall.

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