Thursday, January 26, 2017

Chaos and Creativity

We live in a chaotic world. This is true in both our Mother Earth and in humanity.   Order is only occasional.  I have set aside time this winter to explore the creative side of my photography.  Perhaps the lessons learned will be useful or, at the least, entertaining.

The seldom used railroad tracks at Centerway in Corning offer the order of the track's gauge.

Consider the art of music.  In music, like the rest of life, we yearn for order.  Melody presents order over cacophony. That is why I like Dixieland jazz, but have often found it necessary to leave modern jazz performances at intermission.  Some of it lacks the order of melody. It just runs scales.

A composer of music gains acceptance by a fresh progression on new melodies that explore new forms. They exhibit an absence of prejudice.  So it is that I pushed myself to seek new subject matter on a few winter days.  Dead grasses have not been one of my preferred subjects.

In recent days, I have sought subject matter outside my usual preferences.  Globs of half melted snow on a small outdoor statuette offered an unexpected composition; I don't usually think in monochrome.  It just seems to simplify the message.

I also have a prejudice against blah winter skies with no color nor texture.  Overcoming that brought me to use negative space to show the naked form of a deciduous tree.

So much of winter seems better in black and white.  Color does have a place, such as this cluster of oak leaves clinging to the branch in spite of harsh winds. Telling that  message with clarity meant paying more attention to the background than the leaves.  Busy "stuff" in the background would confuse the message.

I finished today's photo exploration outside the headquarters building of Corning Incorporated.  The black reflective glass walls offer an orderly facade to reflect the hard winter scene in the adjacent park. I prefer this reflecting wall in summer when it includes strolling visitors against a backdrop of leafy green trees and blue sky. 

I had to overcome my unfavorable opinion of the scene.  My preference is to photograph elements of the natural world such as bird behavior, flowers and landscapes, always in color. I will continue preferring this, but I believe the exercise has led me to approach each day without prejudices on what will be offered of merit. 

Paul Schmitt