Since time immemorial people have been recording their lives and surroundings. As far back as the Stone Age people recorded the world around them on the walls of caves in the form of art. They depicted the animals they shared an environment with and recorded hunting events. They reflected on the world around them and set it to stone in the same way we set it to paper today.
This reflection on the world and our place in it is an unavoidable aspect of being human. It’s what we do. We observe both our internal and external worlds, and try to make sense of them. Naturally, with the rise of literacy came the rise of the diary as daily record for the masses.
“Swiftly, swiftly, record your thoughts before they are forever lost in time.”
The earliest reference to a diary as a book in which one recorded daily life was in Ben Jonson’s 1605 comedy, Volpone. In 17th century England diary keeping became quite popular with people recording all kinds of different aspects of life. Like today, there were many kinds of diaries you could commit to keeping.
In John Beadle’s 1656 Diary of a Thankful Christian he wrote:
“‘We have our state diurnals, relating to national affairs. Tradesmen keep their shop books. Merchants their account books. Lawyers have their books of pre[c]edents. Physitians have their experiments. Some wary husbands have kept a diary of daily disbursements. Travellers a Journall of all that they have seen and hath befallen them in their way. A Christian that would be more exact hath more need and may reap much more good by such a journal as this. We are all but stewards, factors here, and must give a strict account in that great day to the high Lord of all our wayes, and of all his wayes towards us’.” (Source)
While Beadle was making use of the diary genre to keep a record of his life as a Christian for God, many others were using it to record other elements of life that were important to them. Four centuries later we continue to do the same.
Continue reading The Human Tradition of Keeping A Diary
Sometimes we focus heavily on exposure settings to create sharp and well composed images while we garner experience to improve our photography. And while it’s a very good idea to get acquainted with the ins and outs of the exposure triangle out in the field it can become monotonous and, dare I say, uninspiring.
The last thing you want is to lose that wonderful feeling of getting lost in the moment of capturing that all photography enthusiasts feel when experimenting with new subjects and light conditions. One great way to add diversity to your photography is to try abstract techniques.
The fantastic thing about experimenting with abstract photography is that, firstly, there are no rules. Abstract is what ever you want it to be. And secondly, what ever rules we have been told about photography technique can be broken when experimenting with abstract.
The rule to always use a tripod when using a shutter speed of about 1/20 or slower can be discarded if you decide to experiment with motion blur and panning. You can create some beautiful images by slowing down your shutter speed and panning your camera. This works particularly well in low light conditions with an adjusted aperture & ISO to avoid a blown out image. The great thing about trying this technique is you’ll learn more about what your camera can do and about exposure all while being creative in a completely different way. There’s loads you can do with panning so have a look at this article with examples for ideas.
In this technique you can handhold or tripod your camera. Again you use a slow shutter speed and once you’ve pressed the shutter you zoom in to (or out from) your subject. It creates a very interesting effect and is a lot of fun to experiment with. You can read more about zoom burst in this article which also has some nice examples.
These are just two examples of ways you can experiment with creating abstract photography. You can read about some other ways to do this in this article. The idea is to create and practise using different creative techniques than you would normally use when you’re out capturing. It’s a wonderful creative exercise and the results can be surprising. You might even get that creative boost you needed when you return to your normal photography.
I’m a huge fan of post processing too so the fun doesn’t have to end once you’ve created the image. You can also do all kinds of cool things with your abstract images in post processing particularly related to colour. So don’t forget to get creative on your computer and experiment with colour and texture.
If you’re keen you can share your images on Instagram using #LiloliaPhotographyExperiment and #Abstract
Instagram is one of my favourite creative outlets. The opportunities for creative expression with Instagram are endless and one of the main reasons is because you are free to experiment.
A couple of shells, take some photos, a bit of playing around in Snapseed and you’ve made a lovely image for Instagram.
Your photos don’t need to be perfect shots or your portfolio best. You can be creative with perspective, colour, composition, and editing and get feedback from your followers. You can just practise and play.
Instagram is a wonderful community; everything goes, anything is possible, and everyone can just let go and create. You don’t need to agonise over what to upload; you can be free, try new things, and keep your creative juices flowing. There are also thousands of other highly creative people out there to follow and inspire you!
If you’re interested in still life photography, 10 Tips to Get Started with Still Life Photography will help you on your way to creating beautiful still lifes easily at home that’ll have you busting out your creative moves. And what will you do with these images? Instagram them of course!
I finished Steal Like An Artist by Austin Kleon a few days ago and I enjoyed it so much that I just went right to the next one, Show Your Work. Both have been very helpful to me personally and I’m sure if you are creating anything at all you’ll find this book, Show Your Work, very beneficial. There may be some things that you already know but Kleon has a great way of putting things so that you’ll feel reaffirmed in your strategy.
“In his New York Times bestseller Steal Like an Artist, Austin Kleon showed readers how to unlock their creativity by stealing from the community of other movers and shakers. Now, in an even more forward-thinking and necessary book, he shows how to take that critical next step on a creative journey getting known. Show Your Work! is about why generosity trumps genius. It s about getting findable, about using the network instead of wasting time networking. It s not self-promotion, it s self-discovery let others into your process, then let them steal from you. Filled with illustrations, quotes, stories, and examples, Show Your Work! offers ten transformative rules for being open, generous, brave, productive. In chapters such as You Don t Have to Be a Genius; Share Something Small Every Day; and Stick Around, Kleon creates a user s manual for embracing the communal nature of creativity what he calls the ecology of talent. From broader life lessons about work (you can t find your voice if you don t use it) to the etiquette of sharing and the dangers of oversharing to the practicalities of Internet life (build a good domain name; give credit when credit is due), it s an inspiring manifesto for succeeding as any kind of artist or entrepreneur in the digital age.” (GoodReads)
I really enjoy Kleon’s voice and he has a great sense of humour which makes for great reading. This book really expands on a point (the main takeaway for me) that he touched on in Steal Like An Artist. “Share the dots but don’t connect.” In other words, share your process, share snippets of how you do what you do. Don’t give everything away but don’t just share the end product. Share your process, inspire others, teach others, create a conversation, and thereby connect more deeply with people. The internet has changed the game and connecting with people by letting them into your world is the best way to get people to care about what you do/create.
I highly recommend this concise book. There’s great advice and I’m sure you’ll be left feeling inspired or recharged. I think Steal Like An Artist and Share Your Work are best read together in that order and at 200 pages combined you’ll be through them in no time. I know I’ll be going back to these books because there were such great quotes throughout and the advice really is great.
This is another book about creativity and how to get on living a life in the creative industry. I thoroughly enjoyed it as it is concise, very cool, and full of good advice structured under 10 main points. It’s really a quick and easy read. It has lovely drawings and really great quotes. I jotted down a few notes while reading this. Kleon has a great writing voice too so all in all a must read for anyway working in any creative field or anyone who pursues creative endeavours of all kinds. It’s actually a book for us all because we’re all creative in some way and this little book will help you get back into it or dive deeper into it.
“You don’t need to be a genius, you just need to be yourself. That’s the message from Austin Kleon, a young writer and artist who knows that creativity is everywhere, creativity is for everyone. A manifesto for the digital age, Steal Like an Artist is a guide whose positive message, graphic look and illustrations, exercises, and examples will put readers directly in touch with their artistic side.“ (GoodReads)
I especially liked that there’s a recommended reading list at the end. I love further reading lists! I particularly liked this line in the book: “…you are a mashup of what you choose to let into your life…” This book left me feeling full of energy to pursue my projects with zest and joy and I’m sure it’ll do the same for you if you have a creative project or hobby.
I know of Elizabeth Gilbert from her Eat, Pray, Love success. The cover of her latest book Big Magic completely drew me in and then the “Creative Living Beyond Fear” subtitle really spoke to me too.
I consider myself a creative person (but really we all are) and I always have my hand in some kind of creative pursuit but since I am a self taught creative (my tertiary education is in the social sciences) there tends to be a bit of fear or anxiety surrounding my freedom to create without feeling like a complete fraud. Just like when I began this blog years ago I felt I had no right to do so because I knew nothing about the world of blogging. But it has turned out to be a wonderful creative outlet.
If you recognise yourself then this book is for you. It is just as much for anyone working professionally in the creative arts as anyone enjoying working on creative arts in a non professional way. I really enjoyed this book and it is chock full of great lines that you will no doubt see as affirmation style images on Pinterest. It is inspiring and realistic. More importantly it is a guide to just how we should be treating our creativity to enjoy it more fully as well as foster it.
This is not about being successful in the creative arts; this book is about creative living for the sheer love of it. No doubt there will be those that dislike this book but I am not one of them. I have a number of creative passions that I love working on and this book has given me the boost to keep on keeping on. My biggest take away from this book is a personal one. Your creativity (and ability) is no less legitimate than the next person’s regardless of education or any other external factor. Your experience is unique so get stuck in.
I really enjoyed this book, it’s a quick read and if you’re intrigued by it go ahead and read it. If you’ve read it what did you think?