A look at my work from behind the camera
JANUARY 15, 2024
Inspiration can strike at anytime--even at sunrise. So I try to be ready.
Being ready when inspiration strikes
A photo friend, Jeff Harold, wrote a column a while ago in the member news of the Lake County Art League entitled “Your Elusive Creative Genius and Taylor Swift.”
I'm not a fan of Taylor Swift. But Jeff's quote from her, poet Ruth Stone, and his own creative process reminded me of my own struggles, Rick Rubin and the importance of paying attention to that fickle beast called inspiration.
That might be a brain-full to grasp, so let me explain....
About the rock star Swift, Jeff wrote, the creative process of songwriting never happens the same way; “sometimes it feels like a weird haunting” when ideas come from who knows where. And sometimes they don't come at all and “you have to scrounge your brain” for something to write.
Jeff gives us a glimpse of his own creative process, by saying ideas pop up unexplained and randomly ...”But once it hits, I can’t stop thinking about it and the work just flows.”
And for poet, Ruth Stone, Jeff quoted her as saying that when ideas come “like a thunderous train of barrowing down,” she has to “run like hell” for a piece of paper and pencil before the idea gets away.
The image of a “thundering train” resonated with me.
All that reminded me of Rubin's book “The Creative Act: A Way of Being,” must reading for any creative, by the way. In it, Rubin—a Grammy Award winning producer -- stresses the importance of jumping on inspiration the moment it appears, lest it be gone.
“Ride the wave as long as it can be ridden,” he says. “If you are fortunate enough to experience the strike of inspiration, take full advantage of the access. Remain in the energy of this rarefied moment for as long as it last. When flowing, keep going.”
Rubin's advice struck a cord.
It reminded me of how many times an idea—be it a blog post, a photo project, or how to edit an image I was struggling with --would pop in my head at inconvenient times: often early in the morning when the house is still and I'm half awake in bed, or while driving, or in the midst of a totally unrelated conversation.
When that happened, I'd promise myself that I'd write it down and get to it later. But like a ghost at midnight, the idea would vanish before I could grab it.
These days, I keep a day book—that's something like a diary—near me at all times. The office laptop is always open, too, often to a blank page in a the word processing program. Or i'll have a tiny spiral notebook and a pen stuffed in a pocket, like that nerd kid in high school we'd all make fun of, and in my camera bag.
Well, he may have been a nerd, but he had the right idea.
Now, when inspiration calls, I'm ready.
This column was written entirely by me, a passionate landscape photographer and writer working in the midwest, Arizona and California. None of it was produced by artificial intelligence.
Just a note of thanks
A former colleague from my newspaper days said something to me once that popped back into my head as I thought about 2023.
It went something like this...
“You've got it made,” he said, “to be at your age, making beautiful pictures, being able to write about them, and then leaving them behind....'
I didn't realize it at the time, but he was---and still is—so right.
He did, however, leave out one small element: I'm lucky to have the best friends ever, and they seem to enjoy my work.
So now that we've made it through the holidays and we are into the new year, I want to thank each and every one of you, my friends and followers.
Thanks for reading my ramblings.
Thanks for looking at my pictures.
Thanks for sharing your thoughts about them.
Thanks for coming to my showings.
And thanks for connecting,
As one who's finds joy in sharing my view of the world through my photographs, your friendship and the fact that my work resonates with you, means more to me than you'll ever know.