This Week’s LIDLIPS

91. Look along the edges to find the in-between.

92. The exotic is easy. The common is hard.

93. Allow yourself to be captured.

94. Ignorance is relative.

95. Creativity mixes with safety about as well as olive oil mixes with club soda.

Lessons I Didn’t Learn In Photo School 91–95

91. Look along the edges to find the in-between.
Without serenity as its opposite, chaos is not chaotic – it’s normal. Likewise, light cannot be known in the absence of darkness. Nor can poverty be understood in the absence of wealth. Contrast adds power to images. For dramatic light, seek not the storm – rather race to where it collides with the calm. For social commentary, show not the child in squalor – rather show the child in squalor that washes against the shore of prosperity. To create powerful images, look for the spaces in-between. As you wander, you’ll not find contrast in the middle – rather you’ll find it along the edges.

92. The exotic is easy. The common is hard.
Many photographers travel great distances to better their craft. Upon returning home, their peers marvel at the spoils of the adventure: distinctive portraits, dramatic landscapes, and shots of intriguing food, flora and fauna. The moment you point your lens at an exotic subject, the journey to creating an interesting photograph is half-finished. The second-half is often completed by technology rather than intention. If you really want to hone yourself as a photographer, then point your lens at the people, places and things around you everyday. When you can routinely craft an image that captures a new way of seeing the common, then you are truly growing as a photographer.

93. Allow yourself to be captured.
I had an image in my head and went into the desert to create it. I worked diligently for hours – directing my action with my vision. When I was done, I stood there – still and silent – among the Joshuas. Day had given way to night. As the spreading darkness took away my sight, I came to see that I had failed. My vision had been an expression of my intellect and not of the emotion of the desert. Rather than think more, I listened. The vastness of the desert silence began to capture me. The more I listened, the more I saw the desert anew. Under a tightly woven blanket of stars, I started to work again. Eventually I created the image that I unknowingly had come to the desert to create. It was not an expression of me. It was an expression of how I had been captured by the desert.

94. Ignorance is relative.
‘Everyone already knows this’ is the knife that many photographers use to edit their work even before it’s created. Remember that our individual journeys give each of us unique insights. No one knows everything. Even to an educated man that which is unknown sounds insightful. Your journey has value. Share it.

95. Creativity mixes with safety about as well as olive oil mixes with club soda.
As a creative, your ideas will spawn efforts and your efforts will generate new ideas. When your creativity is really humming along, without warning you will eventually discover that you are completely alone in territory that you don’t recognize. You’ll think “this is garbage, no one will [like, understand, buy] this. Consider whether your self-doubt is driven by the newness of the idea and the unfamiliarity of the terrain. Set aside fear and intimidation. Let go of the side of the swimming pool. The frontier of creativity is untamed and largely unknown. Eventually the frontier becomes Main St. By then, if you remain a creative, you’ll be racing out to new horizons that are equally unknown.

Previous Lessons I Didn’t Learn In Photo School

The entire LIDLIPS Series


11 Responses to Lessons I Didn’t Learn In Photo School 91-95

  1. Tyler says:

    Best lessons yet! I live in a desert. A rather boring desert. I often struggle to make images I’m proud of; yet the more I try to capture the creative in the common, the more I realize how beautiful this ‘boring’ desert can be.

  2. Dennis Pike says:

    I think this is my favorite of the series

  3. SA Stevens says:

    I’m with Dennis; this may be my favorite installment so far. I have recently started feeling I’ve exhausted my local surroundings, but I am realizing that just means I’ve picked the low-hanging fruit. Much remains, but I need to work a little harder and be a little more creative. And, yes, take risks. Thanks!

  4. Pius says:

    91 and 92 are absolutely the best nuggets of wisdom that I’ve read in a long time. Funny enough, it seems so obvious when it’s stated.

    btw, I’m loving this “Lessons” series.

  5. These series is an absolute must read for any photographer of any level. It’s full of truth, wisdom and inspiration.

  6. Chris says:

    “Allow yourself to be captured” is a great piece of advice. A photograph can capture many things, but it also inherently displays the biases, hopes, aesthetics, ideas, and sometimes the humor of it’s creator. Embrace this dynamic.

  7. Barry Schein says:

    Did the word sophomoric ever come to mind? You can look it up in your copious free time.

    • Syl Arena says:

      Barry – Sophomoric is one of my favorite words. This is what happens when you’re forced to take two years of Latin from the Jesuits in the 70s. Just curious… to what or whom are you referring to as sophomoric? S

  8. Victor Santana says:

    Something speechless, it´s so hard to people to understand those kind of little things in life. As a photographer im totally agree with u. All this its resume to just hear ur heart, ur mind and to take a look around to the life and past that´s surrounds u .:) thanks for fresh air……

  9. John A. says:

    Very cool post! First time commenting on here, but this post really made me think about each point. I hope I will keep these in mind, for the next shoot …especially if its for me.

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