This week around the photo Web

Usually, when I find an article I think is worth sharing, I will either put it on Twitter right away, or store in Buffer for sharing the following week. Sometimes, however, I will read a series of post on same or similar subject, and it feels like they need to be shared together.

During the holidays, it was quite quiet in the photographic blogosphere, and not much interesting and thought provoking posts were published. The notable exception are those three below.

Sabrina Henry on distinguishing creating art from taking photos

I almost ignored this post entirely when I saw it first time. Felt too artsy-fartsy to me at first glance. Then, I read it, but it still did not resonate. And yet, it stayed with me for the whole day, and I had to go back to read it again, and think about, before I realized how true it was. Sometimes, an image is just an image, regardless how well executed and creative. And there is nothing wrong with it.

Radek Kozak on what is needed to be an artist

Radek wrote this inspired by a book he read. The post starts from asking some hard, needing some deep inside consideration questions about the character traits possibly needed to be an artists. But I mostly like where his post is ending, well, yes, you need to be a bit predisposed, but if you do not anything, do not create, it will all be for nothing. I guess it reminds me of Steve Goslings webinar on creativity.

David DuChemin series on requirements of creative life

The link is just to part four, which is in a sense a conclusion and contains links to previous posts in the series. The series is pretty heavy and altogether a lot of content to read, but there is a lot of good stuff there. David combines into those posts all what he thinks are required elements for successful creative life. Things like craft and sources of inspiration, persistence and intention, and how it all comes together in the creative process. Unlike what’s in Radek posts, all those things are not given to us at birth as parts of character, it is rather the environment we create for ourselves.

If you feel like you are in a mood for some more fancy, yet thought provoking read to make you stop and consider your photography and goals for the New Year, I suggest you take a look at those articles.

An old tree at Brucemore, cedar Rapids, Iowa

Today’s image is of an old tree on Brucemore grounds, the old estate in Cedar Rapids which we discovered just recently and had a chance to spent great afternoon exploring. It is an HDR, which I love for the dramatic tree, and yet I was not able to get white balance to tell the story I wanted to show. I gave up and decided to make black and white conversion, which helped highlight the “gesture” I see in this image, and not drawing attention to the green grass, the only color element at the bottom of the frame.

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  • Radek Kozak

    I’m honored to be found in such company Iza, thanks.

    just wanted to correct myself if my post came out that way (i’m a little chaotic when writing). I’m not saying all those traits and talents are given us at birth, no. That would be too beautiful. Some of them to some degree might, but we have to work hard to develop them to not go to waste. The rest we didn’t get, well, as you pointed out from David’s, we need to give them the proper environment to be born. So when you think about it, either way, we have to work really hard. It was exactly the case of Michelangelo. I always thought he just was that way – born genius – but he was the most prolific labourer and that got him his own space in our history.

  • Iza

    While a lot of what I said is how I interpret your post, I do not agree with you that you do not list things given to us at birth. The talent to some extent, and certainly perseverance are not things you can work on. Can you imaging becoming now a painter? I canot, while I can, to some extent take decent photographs. I would also not be a sculptor, and no amount of school will help it. I just don’t have talent, it is not in my hands to make art, not even crafts.

  • Radek Kozak

    Agreed, and that is exactly what i was saying, at least i thought i was in my post – clearly i’m not expressing myself enough :-)
    We’re given some basic talents at the start, but the rest we have to work hard to discover and then develop them. Even those traits we suppose to have from the start – we have to work on them too, otherwise they are often wasted or at least not utlised to the fullest potential.

    And no, i can’t imagine becoming a sculptor or painter right now, but the key to that question is “right now”.
    I believe, provided that one could start from the scratch and devote big part of life – it is possible to some degree. Why not ?
    Again, i’m not saying i imagine myself doing that – heck no ! but we tend to think about ourselves and our abilities in very short time spans.

    Interestingly enough Michelangelo’s case is pretty similar to your raised issue. He was wholeheartedly a sculptor, so enamored with the marble he would not see a world outside of it. But he ended up painting a Sistine Chapel even though he would insist he’s not a painter and he could never be one (damn he didn’t even liked it at the time). He worked and sweat at it, he would sleep like 3 hours a day for several years and now we have this extraordinary thing in our world. He was also an architect of St Peter’s Basilica for almost 20 years.

    I think he said at the end of his life that he owe it all to the draftsmanship, so in a way, if you think about it – he had a talent for drawing and on the rest he just kept on working. Granted he was a genius but what an example he’s made for the rest of us !

    So let me ask yourself other way around : do you tell me that given you would have, let’s say 30 years or more ahead of passionate learning, having good good teachers and your hands on paint and brush day after day, you couldn’t become a painter ( to whatever level ) ?

  • Iza

    Good question… I sometimes look back, and wonder if I had a better art teacher in primary school, and learned back then anything about drawing or painting, like rule of thirds maybe, measuring the proportions on a pencil before making first draft, anything about light- I could do better in those arts. I enjoyed it so much as child, but with no support, no knowledge, I was not seeing any improvement, and just gave up at one point.
    Well, it is easy to blame on others, right?
    Then, I was trying to go back to drawing about 10 years ago, and just felt overwhelmed with the base I did not have, and gave up, again. And then photography happened, offering “easy” fix, something I felt I could tackle. Maybe I just lacked persistence, patience is not me…
    To answer your question, I feel I am missing a “knack” for those art or patience, both which are things we are born with, to be good at those, and no amount of learning would help.