‘Transformative’ is the theme for this Newsletter. It’s the word we heard most frequently during our recent 7-day residency workshop at the Tallheo Cannery near Bella Coola this month. Reflecting back on the week, here are a few thoughts based on the exchange of ideas, creativity, and inspiration, we all experienced there.
In this, my 169th consecutive monthly photographic newsletter. Enjoy!
1. Transformative:From skeptic to enthusiast 2. How does this ‘transformation’ occur? 3. Develop Your Creative Vision: Interpreting reality 4. Looking for Inspiration?
Transforative: From skeptic to enthusiast
“I found the workshop to be transformational in that it gave me a better understanding on seeing tonal changes in a scene and the foundational skills for expressive creativity. It took about two days to really understand the power of the expressive creativity and to interpret it in my own way. Those two days were challenging in that it broke so many of my own conventions and rules I have held near and dear over the last 25 years of photography. Once I was able to get past those self-imposed constraints, it was a very powerful creative step in my photography.” CW
During discussions at the end of the workshop, we discovered that many of the participants were highly apprehensive about venturing into unknown traditions of photographic expression.
Because this creative journey involves risk, my teaching partner Dennis and I ensure that we all have a safe and friendly environment in which to fail, learn, and grow, then eventually be rewarded by that wonderful feeling of creative accomplishment.
Window – Expressionist
Window – Abstract
By week’s end, participants were using the word ‘transformative’ to describe their enthusiasm for the new ways of artistic expression.
As they departed Tallheo, Dennis and I could sense their enthusiasm and excitement. The exchange of energy and inspiration flowed freely, and we were all constantly reminded how invigorating and rewarding it was to be artists; all involved in a creative process involving our imagination. It was a rich and rewarding experience.
How does this ‘transformation’ occur?
I believe a simple change in ‘mind-set’ is the first step. By studying art history and reading about various art mediums, including photography, I realized a need to think of photography as an Art Form, and myself as an artist. With this new frame of reference, I now head out with my camera as a visual artist to express myself as a Representational photographer, an Expressionist photographer, and as an Abstractionist photographer. By doing so, my creative possibilities for expression have multiplied. I find this stimulating, exciting and highly creative.
Looking out to sea – Representational
New reality I – Expressionist
New reality II – Expressionist
New reality III – Expressionist
This new approach to photography is what Dennis and I encourage in our workshops. It’s part of the journey in “Developing Your Creative Vision” (the title of our workshop!).
Develop Your Creative Vision: Interpreting reality
By changing my perspective about photography, I am better able to separate artistic vision from my vision of everyday life. There is no longer the single reality I see before me; there are many. Some are ‘inscapes’ or ‘mindscapes’, realities which I must seek, as they don’t exist in real life.
Nearby creek – Abstract
Nearby creek – Representational
Developing a creative vision requires bravery and an adventuresome spirit. Original thought and original expression require courage, for it means a smaller viewership will understand or appreciate your art. I experience this personally in my Newsletters; the more abstract images I exhibit, the greater the number of unsubscribers! Interestingly, this is balanced by an equal or larger number of new subscribers each month.
Cannery building windows – Representational
Cannery building window – Abstract
Cannery building window – Abstract
The gentleman who’s quote I used to start this Newsletter, once came to Rita’s and my Gallery and expressed to me that he had little understanding for my new more expressive and abstract work. After touring the Gallery and watching my documentary on “The Wildfire Summer of 2017”, he departed saying he had a far greater understanding. A few days later he told me he had decided to join our workshop.
Cannery building remnant – Abstract
Cannery building remnant – Expressionist
Cannery building remnant – Representational
Today he uses the term ‘transformative’ to describe his recent journey in artistic expression. As a more complete photographer, he now uses his tools with a new heightened awareness for the possibilities for interpreting reality.
Looking for Inspiration?
If you would like to broaden your creative options and move beyond representational photography (the re-presenting of an existing reality), consider a workshop that encourages freedom of expression and the learning of new styles of visual interpretation.
Old piling – Expressionist I
Old piling – Expressionist II
Old piling – Abstract
If a workshop in British Columbia interests you, consider these two options:
18 Replies to “Newsletter #169, June, 2019”
Chris-as always-your photography is just amazing. Thanx for sharing! Cheers Helen
Thank you Helen!
Chris came to Seattle and taught a 2 day workshop for a group of us and it was fantastic. I learned so much!
Thank you Elise. That was a fun weekend. Really enjoyed it!
I’ve nearly given up on representational photography! Hard for ME to believe. You are one of my heros.
Wow…thanks. Don’t give up on Representational photography; there is certainly a place for wonderful landscapes and other subjects. They can provide a valuable sense of place. Chris
Excellant article Chris, nice to see your photos from that workshop, looking great! I can’t say enough good things about the workshop, thank you.
Thanks Chris. It was a great pleasure to have you on board…so much fun! Visually exciting. We are all breaking through barriers…let’s keep it up!
Inspirational…. got me off the couch
What a brilliant way to show how the workshop is transformative, by illustrating it with images in different styles. We are so lucky to be part of this!
That we are Dennis…so very lucky.
Hi Chris, creativity comes in all shapes and sizes. It is true that your photography is unusual and very creative – some I wish I could duplicate in form! I often find myself saying how did they/he dot that? You have such a great field to chose from being up in your area. You are a great teacher and inspire many of us! Keep up the great work!
Thank you Doris. We are so lucky to be wherever we are. I often think that the urban areas have so much in terms of expressive and abstract potential! The opportunities are everywhere…let’s go out with our cameras and discover them! Chris
So excited by your work. I have recently studied with Valda Bailey who does similar work. Challenging and wonderful.
Thank you Elaine. I look forward to seeing Valda’s work.
Chris- these are truly magnificent! Thanks for your words of inspiration!! (Connection- friend of Paula’s!)
Hi Jo-Anne. I remember my time well there in High River. Thanks for getting in touch. Chris