Wednesday, December 15, 2010

London Calling (A Reflection on Creativity)

Where do I begin with this post?  It's been a few months since I returned to the states after being on my honeymoon in England with my beautiful wife.  England is such an amazing country and we didn't come close to scratching the surface of it.  We spent the majority of our time in London; I can tell you that London is a historical, bustling, hip, architectural, proper, dark, diverse and amazing metropolis that should be on the "must see" list of every traveler.  I knew what I was experiencing while I was there, yet I didn't fully grasp it until recently.  Recollection has a way of bringing new layers to things.  I took over 1,000 pictures on this journey and it takes a little time to review them all, pick the best shots, and make minor edits where needed.  During the shooting of those 1,000 images, I had some uncreative moments.  I felt like I wasn't getting the type of shots I wanted and it frustrated me.  The entire trip wasn't like that; I had some amazingly creative days and I would come away from the day very pleased with what I had shot.  However, it wasn't until recently that I read a quote that put things in perspective for me.  The quote was from Etty Hillesum.  Etty Hillesum was a young, Jewish woman, who kept letters and diaries that described life in Amsterdam during the German occupation.  These letters and and diaries were later published after her death.  Etty Hillesum said: 

"One must also accept that one has uncreative moments. The more honestly one can accept that, the quicker these moments will pass." 

There is something so simple about this quote, yet it can be so hard to comprehend in the moment.  Even though I took a number of shots that I won't post on this blog, I won't upload to my Flickr account, I won't print for display, or enter into shows, it's still a memory that I've created.  Sometimes that's all that matters.  I have over 1,000 visual recollections of an amazing trip that I shared with my wife.  I'm currently not paid to travel to different locales and spend all day getting the perfect shot.  Would I love to do that?  Absolutely; however, had I realized at the time that I was going to have uncreative moments and the shot that I was getting was only going to serve one purpose, those uncreative moments may have passed sooner and I would've been in a creative sweet spot more often than not.  I can tell you that I'm going to refer to this quote throughout the new year when I'm shooting. Not only will I refer to it often, but I will also refer to it when I'm reviewing and editing images from a recent shoot.  I will be able to appreciate the images for what they are and the great images will stand out and mean even more to me; both as a photographer and a person.  This is what has happened as I've been reviewing and working on my London images.  I love the great shots, but I also appreciate the "to show I was here" shots.  There's something so refreshing about viewing a city through your own eyes and then reliving those images time and time again.  Looking at London is like looking through a window to the past, yet a past that is surrounded by modern day advances (forgive the cliche).  London is a city that has old world traditions; however significant those traditions are, they don't impede the need for the unique, spontaneous and artsy vibe of a high number of its' inhabitants.  It's also a city that has a dark side.  Most everyone is aware of the story of Jack the Ripper and if you read about the East End of London in the 1800s, it's quite likely that you'll be shocked to discover the type of living conditions that were present for a high number of people in those days.  Put all of those elements together, surround them with a blend of 11th Century - 21st Century architecture and you have one of the most vibrant cities in the world.

What you'll see in the upcoming posts will be my view of London.  I hope you enjoy looking at them as much as I enjoyed taking them and as much as I enjoyed reliving the trip as I picked the ones to share with you.  I also hope that as I continue to blog, you notice a growth in my photography skills and my images.  My blog is a representation of my creative moments and as I realize that I have uncreative moments behind the camera, my hope is that it doesn't translate to the work that I'm presenting to you. 

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