…from Octave of Prayer, Minor White wrote “Intensified concentration is common to all creative people…philosphers name this concentration Creativity; the devout call it Meditation”.

This book by White has been sitting idle in my bookshelf for some time and I recently pulled it out while looking for something. If I recall, I bought this book because I was interested in the interesting context of images, because I sure did not follow or understand alot of what White was writing about at the time. Perhaps a little too metaphysical.

But I find that as I read it again, he describes different ways of artists getting into what I call the “zone”. Time seems to drift. There is an intensity to the moment as the concentration seems to increase almost on its own. You seem to flow effortlessly.

Sometimes this occurs while making an image, sometimes it occurs while I’m just out photographing in an area. I have had this occur while working on an image, whether it is in the wet darkroom or on the computer. I seem to be more fully engaged.

I remember an old adage; try to make at least one exposure within the first 15 minutes of arriving at the area you are interesting in photographing. Now I understand that this is a methodology to engage me and my vision, increase my concentration and make a quicker transition in to the “zone”. I have noticed that when I do not heed this advice, that it in fact takes me longer to become ingaged, sometimes not at all. And when I do follow this advice, it seems like I become more creative or at least I become ingaged in the potential images quicker and usually more of them. So I guess I better follow this adice more often…

Best regards, Doug

3 thoughts on “Creativity

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  1. It is kick-starting that zone that can be the hardest part. I have tried that technique of shooting within the first 15 minutes and it hasn’t worked for me. Sometimes I just need to walk around a bit and get a feel for the place, the light, and possibilities. Sometimes that never clicks on and I am stuck.

  2. The zone, creativity, intense concentration, meditation, meditative state, the present, all to describe the same thing. I call it “The present”, a state that I enter where there is no future, nor a past, I am fully involved/engaged in what is happening now and only what is happening now. Sometimes that feeling comes in mere moments, other times it takes a little while, yet other times, when things are really bothering me, it doesn’t come at all. I can’t get my mind to shut down.

    I find that I will usually start shooting within the first 15 minutes of arriving at a site; however, sometimes I will stop, sit, listen, feel, and meditate, and then I slip into the zone. It’s a beautiful place to be because time has no meaning there. You just slip effortlessly along and before you know it, you wonder why the light is getting harsh, then you realize that a couple of hours have passed since you last looked at your watch!

    It’s a great place to be and I try to get there often. :-)

  3. It’s one of those things that’s so difficult to describe, but you know it when you see it…

    It makes me think photography is sometimes more about the process, than the end result. Who doesn’t love being ‘in the zone’?

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