One Year of Light Writing

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Yesterday this blog had its first anniversary. In the past year I posted 41 posts on quite a variety of topics around photography and art – sometimes quite stretching the sujet. Still, I didn’t reach the one post per week I was aiming at and I still have to shape up… Among the many things I learned in writing the blog was the importance of discipline.

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Creative Life

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What does it mean to live a creative life? Is it vocational bliss or just endless suffering? Is already the term “creative life” just one of these horrible catch-phrases like “living your dream” (meaning you turn them into nightmares) or does it denote something real? The writer Elizabeth Gilbert (“Eat, Pray, Love”) has talked and written extensively on the topic and has many interesting things to say about it, like “Frustration is not an interruption of the process, it is the process”. It is, however, a different statement of hers that caught my ear. In a TED-talk from 2014 she describes her creative work as her “home”, as “the place where I live”. I think this description hits home (punch intended). Let me explain.

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Process

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Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.

Albert Einstein

As you might rightly conclude from the quote, I am not quite done yet with the topic of simplicity. This time, though, I want to talk about it in the context of process.

Process in photography comprises of many things. In landscape photography it includes choice of location and time, the equipment that is used and how it is used but also how the captured results are further processed. In some ways the process defines the photographer.

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Simplicity

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“Simplicity is not the absence of clutter, that’s a consequence of simplicity. Simplicity is somehow essentially describing the purpose and place of an object and product. The absence of clutter is just a clutter-free product. That’s not simple.

The quest for simplicity has to pervade every part of the process. It really is fundamental.”

Jonathan Ive

Imagine a rustic writing desk with a sleek silver laptop from Silicon Valley on top and a steaming cup of coffee on the side. Does an appealing picture form in your mind? It does for me. Since long I have noticed that I am most vulnerable to this kind of imagery in advertising. I wonder why this is so.

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Storytelling

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Now I got myself hooked on these shells. So I played some more with them and found out they can be quite useful for an investigation into storytelling.

There are quite a few photographers who think that every picture should tell a story. For a long time I myself was quite puzzled on what that really means, outside of documentary photography and journalism. That is until I understood that the real topic is how we process visual information.

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Forms

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In case you wondered where the follow-up to the Notes on Composition post is. It will come, eventually. I am still thinking about it – and maybe too much so. It is a strange thing with creativity. Every time you think you are in the driver seat, creativity or your creative muse will kick you in the ankle and remind you that you follow her, not vice versa.

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What is Art?

DietmarTallroth-0001.jpg“You know it’s art, when it’s bigger than two metres and priced higher than five figures“. This quote attributed to British photographer Martin Parr nicely highlights not only Parr’s sense of humor, but also some of the friction between photography and the art market. The Guardian’s art critic Jonathan Jones in turn has become quite (in)famous among photographers as he regularly declares that photography is not art. This begs to revisit the old question: “What is art?”. Here is my attempt of an answer.

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