Tag Archives: creativity

The Creative Process

3 Sep
Shades of Gray

Shades of Gray

Having a creative outlet has changed my life.  I’ve been places, I’ve met people, I’ve poured myself into projects, come out of my shell, taken risks, failed and learned to persevere, and I’ve experienced life all because I involved myself in ‘The Process‘.

When people ask me what I want to do with my life, ultimately, I always come back to photography.  There are times when I tell myself to be more responsible, to try to get another (more useful) degree with which to make more money, to do something with computers or math or business.  Make more money.  Live easier.  Be more…adult?

Ultimately, that little voice dies out (until such time where I’m struggling to pay a bill) beneath the irrefutable logic of happiness.  I simply can’t fathom pouring my energy into something that holds no appeal.  I’ve wracked my brain trying to imagine what sort of business degree I’d want to spend years paying for, so that I could get a firm grasp on…..some…..one…else’s dream?  The only answer I keep coming back to is that I want to grow MY BUSINESS.  Investing in my skills as a photographer and building my brand never seems like a hardship.  It’s not easy, but most things worth doing aren’t.  And more importantly, my photography is rewarding in countless ways.

I long ago decided that one of my life goals was to experience life.  It would seem that owning my own business and investing in my photography has been a great catalyst, ever propelling me in the direction of living.

 

I life skill.

For all it’s creativity, running a business is still a business.  I set goals, have budgets, write contracts, hire, coordinate travel, negotiate, make deadlines, and do math.  You know….adult stuff.  Boss stuff.  CEO and owner stuff.  (Impressed with me yet?)

 

I travel.  

In my life I have…

Photographer's Life

Photographer’s Life

….climbed to the top of many somethings just to photograph the view.  Or sometimes, the lack of view.  lol

Moray, Peru

Moray :: Peru

….been to several countries, most recently Peru.

Bones in the Sand

Bones in the Sand :: Maine

….explored as many states and spaces and things within my own country as I can, getting up too early and staying up way too late, driving more hours than most sane people probably do all in the name of photography. 🙂

 

I meet people.

I’m incredibly shy.  I mean, I put on a good face about a lot of things, but in the end, reaching out to new people is a very intimidating thing for me.  However, having a business has given me a reason to network and honestly, I’m so grateful that I have.  I have made good friends (like co-host David Pasillas, among many many others) simply because of the power of the internet and the drive to make art.  In finding the courage to reach out and to make myself accessible to others, I have developed a strong network of friends, of confidants, of supporters, of knowledge, of stories and experiences…all of which have greatly enriched my life.

Networking, by the way, also brings great opportunity.  For those of you in the CT area, who happen to like wine and good food, I will have my prints hanging at Francesca’s…all stemming from a friend putting in a good word.  And this is me, returning the favor! lol  If you’re in the Collinsville area, check them out. 🙂

 

I take chances.

Yeah…they don’t always work out.  And sometimes, it kind of sucks. haha  But the times it does work out more than make up for the times it doesn’t.  We lose 100% of the shots we don’t take, right?  And I view the misses as learning experiences, so really…even they aren’t that bad.  We can’t expect people to understand our genius, our art or our stories if we hide them away in the shadows.  I’ve learned that you have to take chances, to be loud, to try new things, accept critiques, be open to whatever life hands you and be willing to promote yourself both to grow your business, and to grow your soul.

 

And speaking of growing your soul…. I appreciate.

How can you create beautiful images without first appreciating what the world has to offer?  Photos are more than just a place or a moment.  A photograph is an emotional memory painted on film.  Without that emotional spark, that outpouring of feeling, that bit of care taken to make an image shine…most photos will just fall flat.

Enders Falls - Mono and Moody

Mono and Moody :: CT

A finished, edited image doesn’t just represent the way a person, place or thing looked at a particular moment in time.  It also represents patience.  It represents years of growth and skill.  It represents the way the photographer felt at the time the shutter released.  It represents the way the photographer felt when he or she sat down to edit the image, and as with all art, it represents how the viewer feels when they see the final product.  All that, and more, in one little photograph.

When you think about it that way, photography is a strong reminder to  A) learn to truly see the world and depth behind everything around you…. and B) appreciate both the good and beautiful things the world has to offer…and C) recognize the inter-connected nature of life.

 

I…well…have a creative outlet.

The last one may sound obvious, but there is a certain joy that comes along with having a creative outlet.  It is a release for negativity and stress, its a place to lose myself, to escape the day to day, and to bring a sense of accomplishment and pride to my life.  It is one of the best sources of relaxation and frustration, and by far one of the most therapeutic addictions I have. Photography grounds me and motives me at the same time. 🙂

 

I expect if I think hard enough about it, I can find a million little ways that having a creative outlet has impacted my life, mostly in a positive way.  Truly, I can’t imagine my life without creativity in it.  In all it’s various forms, it feeds my soul.  Music, photography, writing…eating a chef’s imaginative meal…enjoying my niece’s interpretation of the world reflected in her drawings…building a piece of furniture with my father…hmmmmm…speaking of, I have to finish the blue print for that bathroom vanity at Mom and Dad’s house. lol  Uh.. Anyway…  Creativity is everywhere, and often can be found down non-traditional but fulfilling paths.  Sometimes its just a matter of taking that first step and before you know it, your creative spirit will run free.  If you feel a bit stifled and constricted by your everyday life, I encourage you to find your muse.  Once you experience the joy it can bring you, you won’t look back. 🙂

This is just one of several blog posts going around, talking about what having a creative outlet means to your life.  Please, check out the other artists and creatives who took the time to express what it means to their lives and businesses.  The hub with all of the links is here.  If you want to be part of the discussion, put together your own post and send me the link.  I’ll include you in the hub.  If you post it on social media, make sure to tag David or I, and add the hashtag #create. We’ll find ya. 🙂

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Endless Summer

14 Aug
SSP Endless Summer :: Massachusetts

SSP Endless Summer :: Massachusetts

Gosh, this year is flying by.  Can you believe it’s already August?  I’m smack in the middle of my busiest season, and I feel like there isn’t a single minute I don’t have something to do.  On the one hand, it’s tough to stay on top of everything, organized all of the time, and find a way to get everything done in just a short 24 hr day!  On the other hand, though, I feel blessed to have so much opportunity, to be able to pursue what makes me happy, and to see the places I’ve seen…most of it in the name of photography.

Bixby in the Blue

Bixby in the Blue :: CA

It occurred to me the other day, I have been and done so many things in my life (with many many more to go) with a camera in my hand…and I wouldn’t have it any other way.  With that in mind, David Pasillas and I have started up a blog tour project where my fellow bloggers (that’s you!) can contribute it you want.  All you have to do is be willing to give us your thoughts on what having a creative outlet has meant to your life.

If you’re interested in joining the fun, send me an email at seespotsphoto AT yahoo DOT com and I’ll send you the details. 🙂

Also, speaking of projects, the quote project is just about finished.  I picked a quote, and I’m working on the final piece of art now (with the help of my favorite font experts over at Print Therapy)…as soon as that’s finished, I’ll announce the winner!

I Go On Again, Because You Asked Me To :: NH

I Go On Again, Because You Asked Me To :: NH

Also also, I’m planning a hike up Mt Washington this weekend…trying Tuck’s for the first time…wish Sean and I luck!  We’re overnighting so I’m really hoping for good weather and some sweet sunset on top of a mountain shots. 🙂

AND NOW….another picture of summer in CT, because I can!

Beach House

Beach House

 

Quotography Inspiration

27 Apr

There is no trick to Quotography, but as I’m sure many of you can attest, there are some quotes that are easier to put into images than others. We have decided to tell you a little bit about our process in the hopes that you, our fellow collaborators, can get something out of it! Remember, our way of doing it is not “the right” way to go about it…it’s just a discussion to get your wheels turning and the creativity flowing.

The best way to do this, I think, will be with some examples.

“In the end, it’s not going to matter how many breaths you took, but how many moments took your breath away” – Shing Xiong

Shannon’s Thoughts:

The first thing I do with most quotes is look for the obvious, tangible items in it. In this case, I could try to do something with breath…maybe frosty breath on a cold morning…something along those lines. However, I don’t think that would really illustrate the message Shing Xiong is trying to convey. Instead, I would focus on the ‘moments’ portion of the quote.

‘Moments’ could be something with clocks or watches. Maybe a clock involved in an image of something I value. A watch on a couple holding hands or kissing?

However, to me, this quote is special enough that I would want to do better than a first obvious thought. If this were my quote, I would be inclined to do a photo involving other photos of special moments. Maybe a photo of polaroids spread out on a table? Or a photo of a scrapbook. Photos are my favorite way to remember important moments, so it would be an ideal way to both illustrate the quote while still communicating my personal values.

Nick’s Thoughts:

It’s funny Shannon should pick this quote for us to brainstorm on as an example, because we actually reference it quite a bit with the Charity I work for, so I already have a strong connection to its message.

When approaching quotography, I typically go either one of two ways. First would be to try and pull elements from the actual quote and arrange them in a way that would make for a complimenting image. The other is to try and visualize what the overall message is of the quote and work on capturing an image of that idea, which at times has no particular element from the quote included in the imagery.

Given my relationship with this quote I would definitely go for capturing the idea of unforgettable moments over the elements, which could go in multiple directions. The romantic in me would shoot a well dressed man on one knee asking for his soon to be fiance’s hand in marriage, while she was beginning to weep tears of joy as he presents the sizable rock he has patiently saved up for over the last year. However, the charitable figure in me would shoot more of a reaction to a front row experience at a concert or event. The outrageously energetic cheers as a favorite band comes on stage or the fainting girl as her dream guy rockstar gives a gesture of recognizing her existence. Even a shot of a the winning marathon runner breaking through the ribbon at the end of the course, both hands in the air celebrating a hard earned victory while moments later he will surely be too exhausted to hardly even move. Each of these unforgettable experiences would play in perfectly to the overall message of this quote.

Some quotes are more difficult to apply imagery to…

“In a gentle way, you can shake the world.” – Mahatma Gandhi

Shannon’s Thoughts:

I briefly thought about doing something with a globe, but again that’s an obvious portrayal and I feel, inaccurate. This quote makes me think of someone who leads by example, such as Mother Theresa of Martin Luther King, Jr. They epitomized the idea of large change with non-violent methods. Obviously, I wouldn’t be able to take a photo of those particular examples, but there are humanitarian efforts all around us. The trick is to recognize them.

Some ideas that come to mind are involved as photographs representing a cause, or as simple as catching a random act of kindness. In my mind, both would tell a story of gentle change.

Nick’s Thoughts:

This is another instance where I would go for the imagery of the idea behind, which in my mind would be small actions can have large impacts.

Imagery wise, I would probably go for something simple to compliment the quotes easy nature. Perhaps a image of some youth out in the middle of town holding up a “Free Hugs” sign (which if you have never done yourself, I would highly suggest it! Its a very rewarding experience to see the impact a simple hug can make to someones day), with a recent hug receiver walking away with a huge grin on their face. Or even better yet a couple elderly ladies walking away giggling about the handsome young teens that they just received hugs from. Even something simple like a shot of someone tossing their plastic cup and paper bags in the recycle bin rather than the trash.

Notice that neither example necessarily ran with the exact wording of the quote, but captured the essence of the ideas expressed.. however, you could just as easily run with the elements in the quote, using gently and the world within your imagery. Its completely up to you how you approach it, as we said, there is no right or wrong way to go about this project, as long as you get the creative juices flowing. Our intention is that by seeing our methods, you may be able to shape your own creative process.

If you have any questions, or just need someone to bounce ideas off of, please don’t hesitate to contact us: Shannon (seespotsphoto@yahoo.com) or Nick (nrmayo87@gmail.com)!

The most important part of this project is that you HAVE FUN!!!! There will be no judging, only celebration of creativity when this is all said and done. We look forward to seeing all of your creative results as well as show casing our own!!

Projects!

17 Apr
Oh How Far We've Come!

Oh How Far We've Come!

“When words become unclear, I shall focus with photographs. When images become inadequate, I shall be content with silence.” ~Ansel Adams

At some point in every creative person’s life, you hit a dry spell.  You want to be imaginative, and fun and innovative with your art.  Truly, you want to!  But you can’t.  You can’t focus, you can’t think, you can’t…well…create.

At one point in my photo-history, I hit just such a dry spell.  My solution was projects.  Mini-series, if you will.

Currently, I have several long-standing projects which I add to as I either come across an appropriate image-to-be, or when I’m in need of inspiration.  I’ve started a series on Bikes, Diners, Chucks (aka Converse Shoes), Old Cameras and of course, Quotography.  The above photo is part of both of the last two series!

Do you set challenges for yourself?  Do you find it helps gets the creative juices flowing?  If you haven’t tried, do you want to? =)