Have you ever had an image fully formed in your head, appear to you and call out to be made? Sometimes it may be fairly easy to execute, but other times it might seem like an impossibility. Moments like this are gifts from the creative muses, therefore we owe it to the muses to follow through on these visions.

There are times where the image imagined is easily constructed or found. It’s very satisfying to have an image come to you, then be able to fulfill it to its determined endpoint. Then there are the other moments however, where the image imagined is so fantastical or abstracted that it becomes difficult to manifest before the camera. Herein lies the creative challenge.

In the past I have found myself clinging too tightly to the original idea or vision. I have hiked up steep mountains, lugging large, old window frames, to scout a location for my chosen model (victim!), only to find the location, the prop or the model seemed wrong. Perhaps individually each was appropriate, but now, together, the sum of the parts just isn’t working. Sometimes it feels too literal, or sometimes light years away from the scene I imagined. I have come home defeated and grumbling, thinking it an impossible task to illustrate with my camera an elusive vision in my head.

But after many years of attempting to photograph internal ideas, I now understand that the photograph must take on a life of its own. That it is more important to take the main ideas or visuals and emphasize those elements in the scene. Highlight the integral and outstanding parts and let those come together in their own way. Often, in this process it’s the letting go of strict guidelines that allows fresh and intuitive energy and possibilities to be breathed into the work. Perhaps there is a specific color that seems important, or one prop that can be utilized, or a specific type of light or character. Maybe the location becomes the grounding point and the other elements become what they may once you begin shooting. When I allow the image to evolve into its own form, the results are usually unpredictable and ultimately, a quite beautiful manifestation of the original vision.

Part of the beauty of the medium of Photography is the finite control we have over our images. But it is essential at times to let go of this control and allow the photograph to evolve on its own. So why not begin with a simple anchor point, be open to possibilities and watch the photograph become its own beautiful vision? Its still your image and your idea, but with a little help from the creative muses, it can blossom into the unexpected butterfly.


Images from dreams:

2 thoughts on “FOLLOWING A LEAD.

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Thank you, Eileen, for continuing to inform & inspire.

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Eileen Rafferty

You are so welcome! I’m glad you find it to be both – that’s my hope!

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