Jim Rohn has long been one of my favourite authors and although he doesn’t directly speak or write on photography it seems to me that creativity is at the heart of all he speaks about. In several of his books which I have as audio books he talks about how you create something from nothing and he goes on to say that you start with idea’s and imagination. I agree with him completely and whether we are talking about creating photographs or losing weight to have your ideal body , changing career to find the job of your dreams or finding and living in your dream house the journey starts in the imagination. Creating photographs for me is similar sometimes. The image above comes from a long line of ideas that have been percolating through my mind for quite a while. I came across this scene last night while out on the beach walking my dog. But I didn’t just find it. Last year while out walking I came across this image on another local beach:
This gave me the initial idea for a series on the sea, the beach and what I found washed up there. At the same time I was looking around where I live here in Sligo and noticing the amount of small jetties and harbours that are no longer in use. There are at least 4 local harbours all in close proximity here where I live that are deserted. My next step was to give a local man I passed hitching a lift. He was harvesting turf and the tractor he was using had got stuck in the wet bog – that year (2012) it was a really wet summer. We chatted about what he worked at and during the conversation he mentioned that he used to crew a salmon boat in the old days but that all the salmon fishing has disappeared from this part of Ireland. I have had several conversations like this since with different retired fishermen. Last weekend I was running a workshop on the giants causeway and we visited the Carrickarede rope bridge as part of the trip. The Carrickarede bridge was originally constructed by the local salmon fishermen to catch fish during the salmon migration. Again the stocks have been so depleted that now the bridge is a tourist asset and there is no longer any salmon fishing carried on there.
The next theme that came to mind is climate change. Whether you are sceptical about the causes or you believe that we are responsible for the current freakish weather we are experiencing I don’t think anyone would dispute that we have had some really unusual weather in the last few years. From Sahara sand raining down on Ireland just last week to the winter storms and floods to the fodder crisis last year, the late snow fall in spring last year that killed so many sheep in Ulster and so on I certainly feel that the weather patterns seem strange.
Everything goes in at a subconscious level and I begin to notice and to imagine. I began to construct a set in my mind, what kind of images might fit these kind of themes? Where might I find them? How can I find them? What method should I use? For instance so far my method has been to visit the beach regularly with a camera and photograph the things washed up that interest me, that have relevance to a series.
Last night when I found this small fish on the beach I almost walked right by it – I was in a hurry – but I made myself stop and walk around it, think about it and pre-visualize how I might photograph it. I didn’t capture it first time, I took several exposures and then chose the image that most fits my internal image. It didn’t match this image as it came out of the camera and I needed to process it to get it there.
I will tell you all about that in a day or two though but for now do you pre-visualise or use pre-visualisation? Share how you do it in the comments action here if you do!