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A little less than a happy high
A brief thought splashes on the surface, there is a flash of color, and then all is quiet again
It occurs to me that the majority of my creative endeavors tend to be about turning useful things into other useful things. I mention this because from time to time I really do wish that I had talent enough to draw, paint, or even write. I'd like to be able to summon entirely new worlds from nothing. Yeah, I'm aware that there are fanciful and probably escapist elements that're feeding this, but I keep coming back to this idea. There are times when I see the art of others and am so awed by it that I feel very, very small. I want to be able to conjure experience.

Probably the closest I come is photography, but a) I recognize that I'm a hack who's gotten lucky from time to time and b) even if I step away from the self-critique long enough to say otherwise, the best I can claim is that photography highlights something you might not otherwise have seen. This seems inherently different somehow. It's not like I'm capturing the essence of the subject or showing that which lies beneath. The process ends up feeling much more calculated and I dare say simplistic than that.

Yeah, I've no idea where I'm going with this. They're just thoughts that came to the surface when I found the Clichy animation.

Here are some koi. There's likely a connection.

16 comments or Leave a comment
clayrobeson From: clayrobeson Date: October 18th, 2005 05:18 pm (UTC) (Link)
The thing about photography is that it is each photographer's unique world view. You and I can be in a small room and each have a camera and a roll of film, and we'll both come out with two completely different stacks of photos. So don't sell yourself short on the photography part. Sure, you may be highlighting something that the rest of us wouldn't have seen-- that is your sharing of your unique world view. It's bringing what's inside of you to the outside for everyone else to see. It's just as valid a form of artistic expression as dance, or poetry, because you're sharing something that only you see with everyone else. You COULD be selfish and keep those glimpses of awesomeness to yourself, but you don't.
cosmicserpent From: cosmicserpent Date: October 18th, 2005 06:24 pm (UTC) (Link)
That's why I've always enjoyed going to take photos with someone else because we usually end up with the most amazingly different photos that it's ridiculous. It's like everyone's world view isn't even close.
komos From: komos Date: October 18th, 2005 11:25 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'm guessing you'd be surprised just how much I do keep to myself...

Honestly, this is all more observational than anything. I'm not questioning the validity of photographic expression so much as looking at how it works and how I interact with it. It seems different, somehow, from arts that start in the nothing and give the knowin' of many things.
clayrobeson From: clayrobeson Date: October 19th, 2005 06:01 am (UTC) (Link)
But you start with blank film. Like the painter starts with blank canvas. You use your tools, the lens, the shutter, the light, just as the painter uses brush and paint and water.

It's just a different medium.
komos From: komos Date: October 19th, 2005 01:40 pm (UTC) (Link)
You can certainly make that case, and on better days I might myself. Right now, I'm struggling a bit with the internal voice that's saying things like "painting is high art" and "you can't really understand photography without knowing your way around a darkroom." I think it's something that needs be done from time to time, even if there is the risk of immobilization in the offing. Generally, I can use things like this as a push in some direction.

I don't know that I'll ever really feel like I'm genuinely creative, though, and that's a hell of a hurdle.
why_style From: why_style Date: October 19th, 2005 01:45 pm (UTC) (Link)
i don't deny that photography is a valid fom of expression, but i think the difference is that with photography you have to take a picture of the world that is already there. sure landscape or portrait painters do the same thing as do nonfiction writers, but writers and painters also have th option of creating something that doesn't exist in any form (like science fiction of abstract art). with photograsphy the film is blank but you're not able to fill it in with something striaght out of your imagination - you have to find something in the world to use ot get your idea across and in some ways that is even more challenging than other art forms. or maybe i'm just such a novice at photography that there's something i don't get. maybe it's more a problem of genre.
komos From: komos Date: October 19th, 2005 04:58 pm (UTC) (Link)
That's kind of what I was getting at. Admittedly, there are a couple of different things operating for me in the discussion. The first is the fear that I'm somehow not participating in anything beyond simple "crafting." It's not that I believe in a hard line between the artist and the artisan... it's more like I've not garnered the skills or harbor the talents required for either. Simply put, garden variety fear.

Another stems from a genuine admiration for those things I don't seem to be able to do, and for what can be accomplished using those skills and mediums. If I sit to watch MirrorMask, I wish that I could draw. That wish stems from a desire to conjure an entirely new reality which may have something to do with this one, but does not necessarily have to. That might be possible to a degree with photography (and I'm certainly not there), but I'm not sure that translates into pottery or brewing or cheesemaking.

Maybe my thinking is too narrow?
why_style From: why_style Date: October 19th, 2005 06:50 pm (UTC) (Link)

it took a long time to formulate this thought...

...this post was originally about 3 times as long, but i think i've cut it down to some sort of actual point:

i think i understand you on both fronts. let me start with the second part. it is possible to invent a new flavor of cheese or beer or a new shape of pottery or a new glazing technique - whether through accident or intention - because, though they may be time honored traditions with a "right" way of doing things, you can still break those rules, and wouldn't that be an act of conjuring a new reality? i'm not necessarily saying you're there, but i think those mediums are just as fit as any for originality.

as for questioning whether you're just "crafting", i've had much the same thought at times. i know that my skill as a musician would not measure up if compared to someone who's trained at a conservatory, and it sometimes makes me question the value and quality of my own music. have i been reduced to making electronic pop trash that any 13 year old with a PC could do? should i be writing the code for the programs i'm using if i want to be real? or should i not be relying on technology at all if i want to be a "true" musician. it's like you feel you'd be cheating if you don't master all the rules before you start breaking them.

to bring these two point together, i question whether you couldn't just start freelancing without actually knowing everything there is to know about a subject. sometimes i feel like as technically skilled as many of those trained musicians are, they lack a certain creativity because they are locked into a particular system. while i pretty much have to rely solely on my creativity to make up for a lack of skill, it could be that they're too well trained to have the happy accidents that lead to a whole new way of approaching things. that's overly simplistic i know. but my point is that sometimes the rigidity of technical training can be just as much a hinderance to creativity as a lack of skill. who's to say which is the "real" artist? (this is where it gets into adaptability, communication, and a whole bunch of other nuts best left in the toolbox for now.)

eh, i prolly just mucked it up - i do after all have a stake in the outcome of this thought...
sassyinkpen From: sassyinkpen Date: October 18th, 2005 05:43 pm (UTC) (Link)
You summon beer from water...that's practically biblical!
komos From: komos Date: October 18th, 2005 11:20 pm (UTC) (Link)
I have a lot of microbial help, and it's not even like I'm developing my own strains yet. Besides, brewing really fits in the "making something useful out of something else useful."

I won't deny there's a kind of magic in it, though.
sassyinkpen From: sassyinkpen Date: October 19th, 2005 01:57 am (UTC) (Link)
Well....if you're gonna get nitpicky...

That camera you're using, and that person you take a great shot of? I suspect they were both useful before you created a picture. *winks*

Same is true of the paper and pen you write with.

They're ALL ingredients - it depends on whether or not you have the talent to combine and manipulate them into something greater.

Porter or Proust - same thing. :)
komos From: komos Date: October 19th, 2005 01:32 pm (UTC) (Link)
My homebrew store supplied me with a dead yeast culture this week. I was fortunate in that I had some dry yeast kicking about, but I'm guessing that it's not going to have the characteristics I was looking for for my brown, and I certainly won't be pitching a porter on the lees.

'Course, they didn't have the yeast I wanted to begin with, and that makes me sad. I may well start ordering from Northern Brewer if this keeps up.
riverbank From: riverbank Date: October 19th, 2005 04:00 am (UTC) (Link)
take a look at the book 'art and fear'
komos From: komos Date: October 19th, 2005 01:27 pm (UTC) (Link)
It's seen me this far, though I'm still trying to figure out who sent it to me two years ago... ^_^
riverbank From: riverbank Date: October 20th, 2005 08:05 pm (UTC) (Link)
komos From: komos Date: October 20th, 2005 08:22 pm (UTC) (Link)
Was it you? There was no information on the sender when it arrived...
16 comments or Leave a comment