Newsletter #130: May, 2016
© Chris Harris. All rights reserved.
- It takes Courage to be an Artist:
- Painters take risks too:
- Photographers must also take Risks & Develop Creative Vision:
- Polar Bears and Northern Lights: Churchill, Manitoba
- Workshops: The Creative Process & Developing your Creative Vision
This past week has been a frustrating one as Microsoft suddenly (unannounced) decided to upgrade my main computer to Windows 10. After I declined to accept it, they reinstalled Windows 7; trouble is, they wiped out my networks, internet and many settings. Yikes! The result is I don’t have access to my images for this Newsletter. I think I took a giant step toward switching to Apple!
An exciting week lies ahead, however, as Dennis Ducklow and I head west to the Tallheo Cannery near Bella Coola to teach an extensive 7-day photographic workshop. So, with ‘creativity’ on my mind, and with my remaining access to the images I made in Ireland last month, I’ll concentrate this Newsletter on Photography as Art.
Here is the 130th consecutive monthly Newsletter. Enjoy!
Our goal at the Chris Harris Gallery is to share photographic adventures and inspire others in the creative process. Please share this Newsletter with friends. We appreciate your interest and continued support for my work.
- It takes Courage to be an Artist:
During our upcoming workshop, we will be talking about composition and the creative use of our tools. However, we will be going far beyond that. We will be discussing creative vision, creative goals, and personal expression; we will be talking about photography as art and photographers as artists.
The word ‘creative’ refers to something original; original expression resulting from original thought. It comes from our imagination. If we take pictures of the Eiffel Tower in the same way that millions of other photographers take them, we are not being creative. If we portray subjects in a similar way to how most other people see them, that is not using original thought. It is not being creative.
I made this image looking out into the garden through my sisters living room window. It’s the same view anyone else would see if they entered that room. By definition, this is not a creative photograph. There was no original thought required in capturing this image.
Then I began to experiment and think creatively. The next composition is created using the same yellow vase, while looking out the same window at the same view. It is a double exposure. This perspective, however, required original thought. Being original is never easy, for it requires considerable effort, experimentation, and learning. It means taking risks and not being fearful of failure. It takes courage to be an artist.
- Painters take risks too:
Jane and the creative use of her tools
While photographing in my sister Jane’s studio, I watched her using creative techniques which she has learned by experimenting over many years. Her creative vision has led her to major exhibitions throughout Ireland and Great Britain.
Line, form, texture, colour
I have been to some of Jane’s exhibitions and have overheard viewers wondering how she creates such texture. Her lines are also 3-dimensional and are also topics of discussion and conversation. How does she do it, they ask. The answer is; years of trial and error and considerable creative vision.
Jane is a master of line, form, texture, and colour. “Each line is considered; each colour and tone balanced and fused; each brush mark relevant”. Jane’s still life compositions are “signatures” of her work and creative vision.
3. Photographers must also take Risks & Develop Creative Vision:
Paint brushes; documentary
The above image is a straight forward documentary capture of a variety of paint brushes on a shelf. Even if technically and compositionally strong, it certainly didn’t require much creativity.
Paint brushes; narrative abstraction
Paint brush; narrative abstraction
In creating these two photographs, I portray the relationship between the painter’s tools and the final creation; the painting. Each of these are double exposures of two different subjects located in different parts of the studio. These were both created in my imagination; and required original thought and creative vision.
The loom room
Bolts of coloured wool
Later that day, I was doing some clean-up in Jane’s loom room. I love this room; something about the books, loom (both out of view), colourful wool, and the smell. So, once again, I made two images, one a documentary image to show the room as it was, and another to express my love of colour and texture. To do this I used a slow shutter speed of .6 sec combined with horizontal camera movement.
Later that evening, after supper, I went for a walk in the garden with my camera. I didn’t even have my tripod — must have been too lazy to get it. That didn’t stop me from making a few images though.
This solitary tree looked, young, struggling, and forlorn, so I decided to give it some substance. To do this I walked parallel to the hedge, stopping every few metres to make an exposure of the tree; a grand total of nine exposures. By multiplying the number of branches by nine, the tree filled out somewhat and took on a new vibrancy. This tree became my favourite tree on the property!
The making of this photograph also required imagination and creative thought. It’s all part of taking creative risks and developing your vision as an artist.
4. Polar Bears and Northern Lights: Churchill, Manitoba
On October 18-23, 2016, I will be the resource photographer on a ‘Polar Bear Photo Safari’ tour in a wildly remote and rugged area near Churchill, Manitoba. This 6-day adventure is based out of the fly-in only Seal River Heritage Lodge, located 60km north of Churchill in the heart of polar bear country. The lodge is one of the prestigious National Geographic Unique Lodges of the World.
The possibility of photographing cariboo, arctic fox, and northern lights within a stunning sea and landscape adds to the delight of this photo tour.
At present, one female client is seeking another lady to share a room, should that be a factor for anyone wanting to take the trip.
Check out the tour itinerary and accommodation details on the above two websites. This could be an opportunity to fulfill a lifetime dream of seeing and photographing polar bears in an arctic landscape.
I hope you can join me.
5. Workshops: The Creative Process & Developing your Creative Vision
The creative process and developing one’s creative vision are important parts of all my workshops. Some workshops are full, however, there remain some openings in others. If you are interested in developing your creative vision, browse through the workshops page on my website.
I hope you will join me.