Tuesday, 11 November 2014

work of a genius, eh?

We have a lecturer who has frequently told us, first year photography students and film students, that we are not geniuses. (What does he know, we might as well be!) As I have understood, his point is that creative work is not a product of a genius or magical powers called creativity and inspiration, but rather hard work and planning. I think it is a very good point but I find it funny that just the fact that we chose to study something creative and related to arts makes us appear arrogant. Despite of not being completely serious he seems to have a consistent need to say so. Yes, sometimes I am very proud of what I have accomplished in terms of photography but I try to be healthily modest about it, and I by no means think it has anything to do with any superiority to normal (= non-photographer) people. Also, I am often very careful to not to think or claim that my work is art in order to stay away from the confusing stigma of arrogance related to the current conception of 'art'.
I thought I knew what he meant so I didn't think much of it. However, it turned out I did not fully understand and I had to learn it the hard way.

We were assigned a portrait project, and I was very excited and wanted to prove my skills and passion to myself and our lecturers. I knew that that wasn't what I was supposed to do, but I waited and waited and no inspiration came to me. I wanted to succeed so badly that I was afraid of not fulfilling my own expectations, which almost left me with no portraits whatsoever.
I finally forced myself to create a plan for the images. I thought it was a good plan, but I wasn't completely sure it would be good enough for me, but I did my best to make the plan into images. Eventually the plan failed because I had waited so long to execute it and I ended up just taking whatever portrait type shots I could the day before the deadline with a friend from my course.

So, here's another assignment photo that turned out to be very different from what I planned it to be. This time the change wasn't due to lack of technical skills but the lack of emotional intelligence and brain in general.
Given the circumstances I like the image very much. That, however, has nothing to do with being a genius, nor does it have anything to do with hard work and planning. Thus I am rather confused with the lesson I should have learned. One thing I promise, though: one day (hopefully soon) I will publish a photo that has for its existence to thank me and only me, not an accident, not an unexpected event. I will have planned it, executed it and faced and fixed the problems regarding the execution, and it will be my creation* and I will be proud of it. I will produce a good photograph with hard work and careful planning and see how it turns out.

*Doesn't mean that I would have to do it all alone, but that the creative choices will all be mine

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