April 11, 2010

The Power of the Ordinary

"Creative Block" We've all been there. Nothing sounds good. Nothing feels right. There's no excitement even in your favorite medium. And the longer it lasts, the more you become frustrated. I know...been there, done that. And each of us have our own ways to work ourselves out of this problem. For me, it's going to various different sources...books, museums, other blogs...things like that to try to get some inspiration!

So...facing this problem once again just recently, I pulled out a couple of my "inspirational" books for a re-read and a recharge. One such book was Gwen Diehn's book, The Decorated Page, which has always provided me a kick-charge when I needed it. This time it came in her reference to another book, A Trail Through Leaves, by Hannah Hinchman and her nature journaling. Interested, I picked this book up from my local library branch and settled in to read Hinchman's narratives of the world around her.

Perhaps it was the fact that my mind was no longer focused on my own lack of inspiration, but it was as I read her chapter called, "The Power of the Ordinary" that I found the answer I needed. In this chapter, she states: "But threading through, in fact floating on top of all this matter, like sea ducks among the icebergs, are moments of the ordinary-made-extraordinary by the simple act of choosing and isolating them." (page 69). It's so simple. What I needed was all around me...I just had to look!

I have a good friend who is a very accomplished photographer. His business allows him to travel to all sorts of exotic places and he takes full advantage, as he should, of this opportunity to come away with some fabulous pictures. I have always felt envious of him in this regard as I feel our photographic skills are pretty comparable but since I don't have his opportunities for travels, my photographs are lacking in excitement. After reading Hinchman's thoughts on rejoicing upon what is around you, I won't be thinking this way again. At least not until he gets back from his latest travels...but I do enjoy his stories.

I took a new look at some of my photographs, like this one entitled, "Jars and Books". Just a simple still life taken during a rainy day in my living room. Like Hinchman, I "chose and isolated" these objects and made them special. Don't you agree?

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