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Archive for the ‘Vulnerability’ Category

How to Be Creative

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Every once in a while you read something you really wish you had written.  Perusing Hugh MacLeod’s post on creativity over my morning coffee today, I had that feeling.  He touches on many of the boundaries we all face as we try to hone in bringing something original to the proverbial table.

Reminds me of that quote by Marianne Williamson,

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.  Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.  It is our light, not our darkness, that frightens us most.  We ask ourselves, “Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and famous?”  Your playing small doesn’t serve the world…”

Creativity in essence is seeing something differently than everyone else does.  It’s not shrinking from the voice inside that insists on bringing your unique perspective into the mix.  Nothing more, nothing less than yourself.  Maybe that’s why it’s such a vulnerable process – because creativity is a glimpse of ourselves without the security of any facade.  It’s a look into that inner light that we all tightly guard.


Written by Spelman

05/11/2010 at 10:14 pm

Into The Rabbit Hole with Michael Donnor

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Welcome to the 1st Installment of Guest ‘Slaw, where we get the story behind the photos from an invited photographer.

Michael Donnor, a commercial and fine art photographer, recently published a new portfolio called The Rabbit Hole. These photos were a departure for Donnor, a foray into the world of color.  These images aren’t sitting still, their world is one of mystery, intrigue and innuendo. If these photos were alive, they would be up over at the bar ordering a Jack Daniels, straight up. They represent the work of an artist willing to walk across the line of his own boundaries and also to ignore accepted conventional aesthestics.

I asked Donnor for some thoughts on his creative process and this is what he shared:

“In February myself and photographer Mike Sakas set out to create a photo shoot that would be a unique departure for us. We placed restrictions on ourselves; first budget – basically we had none, then time frame – we had one day to shoot, add in minimal wardrobe, 4 models, and one farmhouse… ready go! This portfolio represents the images that came from that one day.

The creative process for me begins by being uncomfortable. I knew I wanted to have a visual aesthetic that was different from anything I had done in the past.  I chose color film, used a flash for the first time in my life, and I never let myself feel comfortable. It was time to shoot and the models were the first to arrive, then the wardrobe, and everyone was ready, waiting for me… what was I going to shoot!?   For me to get to the frame I need, I have to work behind the lens. This went on for the whole day, a kind of uncontrolled chaos, not knowing what I was doing but knowing I was doing exactly what I needed to. I essentially boxed myself into a corner for this shoot, and then wanted to see how I fought out of it.  That also best describes how I worked with the camera, I like to photograph as if I am in a dirty scrapping fight with my camera, one I must win, I can never fail it is not allowed… “to the death!”    But when it was all over and the dust settled I thought I had failed miserably.

But then it came to the edit, which for me is as important to the creative process as shooting. When I edit I keep in mind the mood that helped drive the aesthetic, I use music and feeling, building it together into the cohesive body of work that was always there, but hidden. The same way every stone has a sculpture within, but the excess just needs to be chipped away.

When I was done I had the work I wanted to create all along.”

A Steinway for a Hasselblad?

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I was listening to this beautiful piano earlier today.  The kind of music that is almost haunting because it’s so full of soul and vulnerability. I allowed the music to no longer float through the background, but to become my focus. For a moment it was like I had my own personal soundtrack. Listening, I wondered if I would trade being a photographer to be able to play like that

The ironic part is, the answer was within the question.

I want to make images that could stop a musician and make him wonder if he would trade his ability to play to make images like that….

No matter whether you are speaking in terms of tonal range or tones of gray, art is an expression of connection and vulnerability.  We’re all on the same ride.

This last weekend I had the opportunity to work with some phenomonal Santa Fe dancers from the 3HC BBoy/Girl group.  It’s always a blast to shoot people who are uninhibited in front of the camera – thanks 3HC.


Written by Spelman

01/23/2010 at 12:11 am

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