Why you should fall in love with the process – lessons from Vincent van Gogh

In 2005, staff from The Phillips Collection and The Cleveland Museum of Art began an eight-year journey studying the creative process of Vincent van Gogh.

What they found contradicted popular opinion about van Gogh and the way in which he worked.

As early as 1883, van Gogh began recreating his own paintings. He would sketch a scene from life, and then reproduce it on a blank canvas in his studio.

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The missing link between mindfulness and creativity

As photographers, we are obviously interested in our subjects. 

But are we curious about them? Are we curious enough to ask questions?

Mindfulness is how we see deeply and perceive the world uniquely. We come to understand the beautiful, interconnected nature of all things and learn how we relate to subjects we want to photograph.

For example, we may find a beautiful plant with vibrant yellow flowers growing on the forest floor.

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How to create personally meaningful work - the power of divergent thinking in photography

At some point, we want our photography to mean something. We want to graduate from taking images to making them.

No longer are we content with photographing a scene for posterity or jostling for position with other photographers at golden hour.

This discontent manifests as a lack of meaning. We know what we’re doing with our camera without necessarily knowing why.

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On intuition, and the courage to be an expressive and creative photographer

Dogs always seem to know when it is dinner time, despite the fact that they don’t wear watches.

So how do they do it?

Perhaps they recognise the sound of a family member’s car in the evening or the way that their master smells after a long day at the office.

Or maybe it is as simple as golden evening light or their increasingly vocal stomachs.

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How to be a more creative photographer and enrich your life in the process

Creativity is, in some respects, intangible. It does not have a physical form. It cannot be distilled and sold in bottles. It cannot be summoned at will, and if it does happen to show its face, there is no guarantee that it will stick around.

Creativity is elusive and as such, is one of the pinnacles of photographic achievement.

Many photographers will ask after its whereabouts, and how it might fashion them a personal style, vision, or voice.

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The quest for creativity – Part 2 – You have to collect the dots before you can connect them

The year is 1976. New York City.

William Eggleston’s exhibition has just debuted at the Museum of Modern Art. Unfortunately, it hasn’t gone down well.

Eggleston’s photographs strongly resemble the color slides made by the man next door; and his show at the Modern was the most hated show of the year”, Hilton Kramer of the New York Times wrote.

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The quest for creativity – Part 1 – Consuming, creating, and limiting beliefs

Everyone wants to be a better photographer.

And for every photographer that strives to be better, there are many more people willing to show them the way.

Portfolios, articles, tutorials, documentaries. You name it.

There is now enough photography-related content on the internet to sink several battleships.

And some of it is very good, too.

But is this embarrassment of riches a good thing for photographers?

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