Sunday, April 18, 2010

Creative Exercises

I just found a folder of photos, from nearly 10 years ago, taken for an exhibit at the Lowell Arts Council.

Participants in the exhibit had to follow several guidelines:

1.) The photos had to be black and white,
2.) They needed to depict something from nature,
3.) And they needed to be abstract.

At first glance, it seems as if the guidelines would really stifle creativity. I think just the opposite is true, as the guidelines forced me to look at and consider everything differently, angles, light, field of focus, etc. and I had to work much harder to express my vision. I took literally 100's of images and discarded about 99% of them, fairly typical for photography.

Here's a just a few:

While any of these could have been used, properly cropped, of course, here's the one I submitted:

Viewers of the exhibit were encouraged to try to identify the images - mine was the only one that no one successfully named - I managed to nail the abstract concept!
Creative exercises or challenges can be a great way to expand your personal vision or to jolt you out of a mental rut; you need not participate in a group, although many are present online. Work in a color you dislike, a different medium or size, a shorter or longer time frame than is your norm, the options are endless and you just might be surprised at the results.