I think a lot. Sometimes I think too much. This is the thought I generally have at about 1am when I am wrestling with busy brain syndrome and cannot fall asleep. Here are a couple of thoughts kicking around in my head at this nightly hour.
What one sentence would you pass on in the event of a cataclysm that contained the most information with the fewest words, what would I say? Or what image of mine would I single out?”
“Is creating art a response to our own knowledge of our mortality?”
“If time is a human construct, how would we abandoning it and how would that change the way we lived?”
“I wonder what the post will bring tomorrow.”
And the list goes on.
This is a very long-winded introduction to me saying that photography is where I try to think the least. I try not to put thought into my images but rather try to put my feelings or emotions into them. Put another way, I try to make images based on what I am feeling rather than what I am thinking. I don’t know if this is to give my brain a rest or to give me a rest from my brain. A bit of both I would guess.
For the most part this works really well for me. I have become good at disengaging from my thoughts while I am out photographing. I don’t like listening to music while I photograph either because it affects how I feel, which then affects how I photograph. For me it is enough to be there in a moment responding to subtle currents within me that I will struggle with later to put a finger on.
In fact, this is where my problems usually arise: when I try to think about my photos after the fact and figure them out. Generally I don’t do this too much. The photos are not products of thought, but rather visual translations of moods or feelings passing through me in a particular place or at some particular time. Thought doesn’t typically enter into that equation and therefore makes for an awkward fit I have found when forcibly injected into it later.
Anyhow, even now I am applying more thought to this image than I should, but sometimes I find the thinking “out load” to be an effective means of getting it out of my head.
That and I do like doing the writing just for the practice.
So don’t fret if you cannot explain your photos, or if you worry about the perceived lack of thought in them. Some photos are meant to embody a great deal of thought, but not all images. It is ok to make images that cannot be so intellectually described or explained. It is ok to make images on hunches, feelings, intuition, or the like. And it is ok to not understand your own images after you have made them. In fact, I rather enjoy it at times – the mystery of it all.
So here you go. Hopefully nothing I said gets you to thinking too much and keeps you awake tonight.