This was the scene recently outside my kitchen window. I was feeding the cats when I noticed it. I was not looking to make a photograph or even consciously thinking about photography at the time. And yet, I saw it. The contrast between the soft, scalloped curves of the snow and the hard, vertical lines of the fence as well as in tonality riveted me. I threw on my boots, grabbed the camera, and made the 10 foot trek out the back door into the wildness of my backyard. It occurred to me afterward that the experience is a perfect example of always living and thinking creatively.
Living the life of an artist is just that. It is a lifestyle, something that we live and breathe on a daily basis. It cannot be something we do on occasion, when conditions or time allows, otherwise being relegated to the back of our mind. The weekend warrior mentality does not work if we wish to grow creatively. We must always be thinking photographically. This doesn’t mean we have to make photos on a daily basis, which of course is unrealistic. Thinking creatively is a mindset that goes beyond the act of making pictures, although that is obviously an important component. Reading about art, reflecting on our own art, looking at the work of other artists, all of it is part and parcel of the creative lifestyle. The more we engage a creative mindset the more we train ourselves to think and see like an artist. In time seeing and thinking photographically will always at the forefront of our brains, even if we are not actively engaged in it at the time.
It is doubtful I would have noticed this scene a few years ago, especially given that it is a departure from my usual “style”. (A man-made object in one of my photographs? Horrors!) That I did notice it at a time I was involved with other tasks is a direct consequence of having trained myself to always be open and receptive to things that stir an emotion within me. It is rare than an hour will pass that I do not at some point think about something related to photography and the act of creating. I used to think of it as an obsession, I now regard it more as an immersion into a creative mindset that allows me to always be seeing and feeling.