Longing Blog5
"Mind endeavors to understand -- while the heart simply knows."

Uniquely You

If you have been reading The Photo Art Journey from the beginning, you now realize this photographer’s blog isn’t your typical exposé on how to take pretty pictures. Indeed, this blog is a bit different. It’s more about the journey, the adventure — than the destination. Yet know that this journey, this deep exploration into a personalized creative process, can help you produce beautiful work in a profound way that is uniquely you — at the deepest level.

“The silence was enchanting. Infinite space seemed to enter it, and my spirit, alone with the stars, seemed capable of any adventure.”
~ W. Somerset Maugham, The Summing Up

So if you have made it this far into The Photo Art Journey, you probably feel this adventure is worth taking. So let’s begin to go deeper, but slowly and intentionally. Before diving into details, the stage must be set and the background scene painted — to reveal at a distance the far landscape we are about to traverse. The trek starts with exploring the introspective and ethereal process I mentioned last time — this process of cultivating one’s inner senses and outer perceptions. It is a gradual process, formative in nature, uncertain at times, yet ultimately enlightening and empowering.

“Your not going to master the rest of your life in one day.
Just relax. Master the day. Then just keep doing that — every day.
~ Anonymous

First of all, if this all sounds a bit vague or “woo-woo” to you, know that it helps not to get too serious about it. Nor to feel that it’s silly — but even that’s better than being too serious. Because by being too serious or forceful, you will be using the wrong part of your brain in trying to negotiate this subjective endeavor. I know, because at first, I tried.

Also know that an inner critic will be fast to jump in, trying to discredit anything that threatens its agenda of “reality.” Mind is usually resistant to relinquish its control of your awareness over to a deeper You. This creative process, this inner journey you are embarking upon, will do that.

Inner Child

As I mentioned earlier in “Kosmic Kayaking,” I eventually discovered that entry into this process begins with learning to play again. Just as I did growing up in North Carolina — with my colored pencils, a plastic Kodak Brownie camera, my pal Herman (miniature pet turtle I kept in my shirt pocket) and my excursions into the neighboring forest, the mysterious realm I called, “The Woods.” And I can remember how life was then. Each moment vivid, fascinating and full of possibilities. I could hardly wait to jump out of bed in the morning.

This rediscovery of childhood’s curiosity involved both exercising and extending my atrophied imagination, while listening intently to my intuition — the language of the heart. It also required a bit of discipline over a cranky critical mind — to gently allow myself the emotional space to explore being as a child again — free, curious and forever amused.

The Experiment

And so I experimented, and I played — out there in the desert among the rolling hills and majestic rock formations. Now and then, I would come under the curious gaze of a passing coyote, road-runner, or desert lizard — leaving me with a warm sense of being accepted as a kindred wanderer of the land.

It was a relaxed and spontaneous kind of experimenting — like, “Let’s see what happens if I do this.” And then trying out ways to work this “imaginative” awareness into my former photography training in the Zone System, focus stacking and high dynamic range exposure. It has taken time, practice and especially patience.

“Adopt the pace of nature. Her secret is patience.”
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Over time, my creative process evolved into a rhythmic dance between mind and heart — between technical skill and childlike play — all without allowing the inner critic to override the subtle impressions emerging from within. Eventually, after much trial and error (playing around), I began to see results. Not much at first, but eventually evolving into the artwork you see in my “Inner World’s Gallery.” Mind, Heart and Soul, balanced and working in unison, began to create from the core of who I am.

The Process

I feel this creative process can be learned, even enhanced and personalized — but only if you are willing to do the “inner” work. If you put in the time on a regular basis and at the same time of day, you will grow and you will create. Your inner voice, your intuition, grows louder and clearer. Your perceptions become more refined as an additional set of (inner) senses are activated. And ultimately, this leads to an expansion of awareness — the creative expression of conceptual images that are uniquely your own.

Know that this formative process may be slow for you at first, as it was for me. Or, you may already be well on your way — just needing a little validation that, “No, you are not going crazy.” You are awakening to a deeper You. It really depends upon the individual. Not necessarily your level of intellectual prowess, but instead your present state of self awareness. And especially upon your desire and courage to explore latent realms of yourself — to discover your very own Inner Worlds.

Please join me next time as the journey continues. Step by step, down that winding trail of the creative process, ultimately to discover and capture the illusive, Conceptual Image. Until then, try running outside with your favorite toy (camera?) — and practice playing again.