What would happen if we simply refused to accept the world as we’ve been taught to see it? What would happen if we refused to accept ourselves in that way? If we did that, we’d step out the the “cause and effect”mindset that we’ve inherited and into mythic time and mythic space. We’d find ourselves in mythic reality, a place where our concepts of time and perception are reversed and turned inside out. And we’d come face to face with Modes of Presence that have become lost to the modern mind, which hurtles down the track at breakneck speed and never stops for a moment to consider that there might be another way.
Standing in a spectacular landscape with camera in hand requires me to do just that. We forget that the “things” we photograph are alive and that the scale of time in which they exist is far from us. But still, I can make an attempt to move into that space. Feeling a landscape requires me to leave behind everything I think I know in favor of a mystery I can never understand. Mountains, sea stacks, and rivers could care less what day or year it is, what time it is. Their Mode of Being is much different than mine. But they are alive nonetheless. For me, it is in this state of mind that the making of a photograph begins.
This is what I mean when I say that the creative process begins in Imagination. It’s also why I capitalize that word. It’s where inner doors open, where veils are parted, where we get a peek behind the curtain at another mode of being; one that, to say it again, has been lost to the modern mind. Putting yourself in this place can transform your photographs into something magical that comes from inside. In a way, it’s a bit like journalistic or documentary photography. It’s just that what those photographs record is an inner landscape, not simply an outer one. In truth, they record the relationship and interaction of those two landscapes.
My friend, Blake Rudis and I have talked for quite awhile now about doing some location workshops. I’ve had similar conversations with my dear friend and sometime assistant, the very talented Dominica Wasilewska Fisher. I’ve been frustrated by the common workshop practice of getting people in front of a location and letting them just click away without ever talking, just for a few moments, about what they see, what they feel, and what they sense in that place. That’s an unbelievably deep resource for making great and unique photographs.
The video below presented a unique problem to me. Blake handed this photo off to me and asked me to see what I could do with it. I’ve never actually been to this place so I had to really reach into that Imaginal place and get a feel for what it would be like to be standing there. It turns out that I saw things quite differently that’s they actually were. What I thought was ice turned out to be water patterns formed by the wind and captured in a long exposure. And that was just the beginning. Watch the video and you’ll see.
If you’re interested in attending a workshop like this, then check out the link below. You’ll get not just one, but two world-class instructors who will show you how to approach your work in a different way. And that, my friend, is how you begin to make work that is truly yours.