Creative Zone : LUSENET : Black_and_White_Photography : One Thread

Things have been much too quiet around here. Has anyone ever been in what I call a "creative zone"? There was a period of about a year that I believe I was in a creative zone. During this time I made a couple of photographs that in my mind are fairly good. Its difficult to explain but I was really concentrating on seeing. I tried to look at everything in intense detail. Study the texture and shape of things and the effect of the light and the effect of the light at different times of the day. You are probably thinking I am a little or maybe a lot nuts. But in a short time I began to see everything a little differently. And I began see some nice images and make a few decent photographs. Now I am not talking about going out with the express purpose of making a great photograph. I don't think that works. I am talking about trying to see things more intensely and study every detail and suddenly you think WOW I have to photograph this. Why it only lasted about a year I don't know. Maybe the brain can only stand the pressure for that long. I sure hope someone else out there has experienced even remotely something like this.

Didn't Adams say a photographer is doing good if he produces a couple of fine images a year? Then I believe Weston said he was in a mode at one time where every photograph he produced, no matter what the subject, was a masterpiece. Comment anyone?

-- Anonymous, August 13, 1997


Wow! You were in the "zone" for an entire year? You are one of the lucky few...

There is a wonderful book that I was introduced to in grad school, called "Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain," which contains exercises designed to improve your right-brain abilities, i.e., non-linear, creative processes. The author (whose name escapes me at the moment) talks about how one can lose track of the passage of time, and miss things that would otherwise distract them while being fully immersed in their creativity. When this has happened, the author says, it is the right side of the brain kicking into full gear.

I think the "zone" you describe can also be looked at as the right side of your brain taking over. I've done some of my best work in the zone! The challenge is learning how to control it so you can get into the zone whenever you want to.


-- Anonymous, August 14, 1997

Dell I think I know what you are talking about. I find that many photographers get way too caught up in the technical aspects of the negative and print and forget the creativity and sense of aesthetics that make most great photographs great. In my opinion you should be able to take out a cheap point n'shoot and create a masterpiece, and I have seen some with natural talent do just this. Unfortunately most of us (me included) have to work at it. I am fortunate in that most of my photography is 35mm cityscapes so I can ignore most of the technical problems with exposure and just let my mood take me wherever it may. I have always been a quiet and reserved person and my greatest challenge has been to try and unlock the chains and focus my emotions into the image. Occasionally I can get into that 'zone' and it may only last an hour or two but it is always reflected in the images as they stand out from most of the dribble that I usually produce. I wish I could stay in that zone all of the time but maybe it is the anticipation of it happening unexpectedly that makes it so enjoyable.

-- Anonymous, August 13, 1997

Hello Dell, thank you for your wonderful posting. It shines a light on feelings that I had and could not explain. so bright. So you are definetly not nuts. I guess you are just a very sensitive and creative person. Thanx again and greetings from the other side of the Atlantic Ocean. Wolfgang

P.S. I hope my englisch skills are good enough to participate in that forum.

-- Anonymous, August 14, 1997

"Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain" is by Betty Edwards, Fontana/Collins (in the UK at least).

I recently switched from colour back to B&W, after almost 20 years being lazy in colour, and this put me straight back in the "zone". Putting the right (for me) film in the camera, I could forget complications over colour, digitisation, how I would subsequently manipulate the image, and simply (instinctively) visualise the final B&W print.

This is possibly just a personal thing. Because I grew up with black and white, I don't "think" in colour. With B&W in the camera, everything screams at me "take my photograph!"

For my trip to India/Nepal/Thailand this year, I'll only take B&W film, 'cos I want GOOD photos.

-- Anonymous, August 15, 1997

Great topic. I experienced this "zone" most vividly in my musical days years ago. Anyone who plays a musical instrument seriously can tell you that there's a place where the music goes directly from the score to the fingers (I played clarinet) without "thinking", and when the thinking brain kicks in it slows you down and often makes it impossible to even play difficult passages.

I think I've rarely gotten this tuned in when making photographs. I find I'm often caught up in the rigamarole of metering, choosing f-stop and speed, debating on the trade-offs (esp. if w/o tripod), etc. It seems so disruptive to just making the photo. In the midst of all this I often think maybe I should switch back to AE and say the heck with all these decisions. (Then when I look back at old incorrectly exposed photos obtained with AE I remember why I took over!!) Luckily I mostly shoot nature, landscapes, and so on, that won't run away while I'm getting all this right. Am I thinking about these things in the wrong way, or do all these technical details become an automatic right-brain part of the process eventually, at least some of the time (when you're in the zone)?

-- Anonymous, August 15, 1997

Response to creative zone

Oh yes! Guess there are many others out there who also share this feeling. For me, I seem to get into this "zone" now and then and sometimes even when I was without my camera. Some friends just couldn't understand when I started looking (and thinking) at a particular scene all of a sudden and seem lost in my own world. What actually happened was that I started picturing an image of the scene and what I can produce out of it. And in fact most of the times without my camera (of course, I would wish that I have a camera then). So I actually believe that photography is in the mind!

-- Anonymous, August 17, 1997

I think I should qualify that statement "There was a period of about a year that I believe I was in a creative zone." What I meant to say was that during that year I was in the zone a couple of times. And all of your comments are very interesting.

-- Anonymous, August 18, 1997

I was in the Zone for about a week in mid-August of this year, and i produced my best images!!! , , but it's been a while since i've felt creative! I'm usually the most creative in the summer!(no haslles, education, etc.)

But, until i get back into "the zone", I try to get all of my technical methods down(e.i. , exposure, film, developing) so that when i'm in the zone, i can make even BETTER fotos

I'm sort of , preparing for the zone to come back!!!

this thread just makes me want to go out, and make a foto!!!

Adam Southerland

-- Anonymous, September 16, 1997

Hi all Once I bought a piece of art, from a female artist, she said she was pleased I choose this particular piece, course she thought it was the best she had ever don. I then asked her : Are you not sorry selling this 3masterpiece2. And she answered: No it blocks the way for a new. I have over the years thought at that statement and I must agree. Give away or sell the most precious, take it away from your wall, then you long to make one as good or better, it keeps the erge and fill your mind. Regards Steen Djervad

-- Anonymous, September 25, 1997

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