Sunday, August 16, 2009
Trust Your Subconscious
So there I am talking about the creative aspects of photography at a workshop at Otago Museum a few nights ago. Thankfully the Fraud Police had the night off.
Along with some ideas for lighting and angles, I mentioned my trust in the subconscious creative process. For some time now, as a writer, I'll finish the day troubled by a script or story problem, and a solution will only come to me after sleeping on it. I believe your brain works hard on things without your conscious mind doing much more than priming the pump.
When it comes to taking pictures, the same process often works for me. Sometimes I've felt like taking a shot without really being able to express what's working in it. The more I learn about composition, colour, texture etc, the better I'm able to say what I like in a scene - and work to make the most of it. But occasionally I still have no answers. My subconscious knows something, it just hasn't told the rest of me yet. This shot is an example. In hindsight I could waffle on about the negative space, the purity of red, the lines, the mystery of the incomplete neon sign, the danger the red light on the railway sign represents... but at the time, I just liked what I saw and couldn't say why.
Seven months on, this is still one of my best loved shots. I'm glad I'm learning more about what makes good pictures work. It's making me a better photographer. But every now and then, it's good to just go with your gut.