The Inner Path of Photography

We yearn for the taste of the sacred…and through our cameras discover it, the world, and ourselves.

Category: Life Lessons from Photography

Are You Feeding Your Inspiration?

“Self-Portrait: Artist at Play“, Heidi Straube, © 2011

 

NOTE TO READERS:

I wrote this article 6 years ago – and it still gives me great pleasure to remember the event, and what I learned from it. In fact, I’m going to go out and act like a kid, RIGHT NOW! I hope this inspires you to go out and do the same…

Happy Feed Your Inspiration Day!

* * * *

“It’s marvelous, marvelous! Nothing will ever be as much fun.
I’m going to photograph everything, everything!”
(Jacques-Henri Lartigue –  after taking his first photograph, age six) 

Yesterday I participated in a street painting workshop.

It was wonderful.

Three hours on a Saturday morning on a beautiful day in Houston. Eighty degrees, clear blue skies, coffee and kolaches.  Laughing and creating with my friend, enjoying being in the space of other people who were creating too, learning something new.

Later in the afternoon, I showed a picture of my “painting” to another friend.

He laughed, saying “It looks just like a kid’s picture!”

And I laughed too.  “I know, isn’t it great?”

I felt like a kid. I had had no idea what I was doing, enjoyed the process, didn’t judge the outcome…and it was totally freeing.

If you are doing the same thing every day (whether in your creative work or your life) and wondering what happened to your inspiration, try something new. Change up the routine, even if it’s going to a different place for coffee before work, listening to a new radio station on the internet, or wearing a color you don’t usually wear.

If you are feeling blocked, in the dead zone, without creative ideas or enthusiasm for life, claim and deepen your inner silence. Then also look to outside sources to nourish your soul.

We often live our lives in the same way, with the same people, and no new perspectives, support, or learning. And then we expect “inspiration” to come when we call.

Perhaps inspiration is right not to show up on command. If you were ignored, fed little, and expected to be there no matter what, would you keep on showing up?

There are many ways to feed your inspiration, and actually, what nurtures you may be totally different from someone else.

This week I realized that I needed a new inspiration “shot,” and it wasn’t going to come from my usual friends and colleagues sources. It was time to call on my outer spirit guides!

Curiosity, hunger for learning, and comradeship with kindred spirits are some of the things that feed my inspiration. So I (among other things):

* Watched a fantastic DVD, “Inspirations” by Michael Apted – Interviews with creative people talking about their creative process, work, and lives

* Looked at and read “Seasons of Light” by photographer Peter Brown, a wonderful book of images and writing

* Went to a talk at the Museum of Fine Arts Houston about Istanbul in the 16th century, learning more about Islamic art and how the miniatures reflected the culture, remembering the special time I had in Istanbul last spring, and meeting some new like-minded travelers and art lovers.

* Discovered a new photography show at the MFAH I had been unaware of, images from Heinrich Kuhn, filled with my favorite kind of photography.

* Dropped by to see some friends renovating a building, appreciating their vision and skills in creating beauty and function in a physical architectural form.

Swimming, a great cafe, and people I love enhanced the experience.

What nurtures your inspiration? What have you been neglecting?

Be good to yourself and let other sources feed you. Whether they’re new sources or old sources, make sure they are deliberate sources that you know make you alive.

Walk away from the usual, if even for an hour.

Feed and nurture your inspiration.

 

(“Heidi, first street painting,” Cameron Payne, © 2011)

Street Painting Workshop, taught by Cecilia Linayao Bio, sponsored by Via Colori, funded by Center for Speech and Hearing, Houston.

Inspired by David Bowie –

“Sometimes I wish that I could put myself in Duchamp’s place to feel what he felt when he put those things on show and said:

‘I wonder if they’ll go for this. I wonder what’s going to happen tomorrow morning.’

– David Bowie, 1998, New York Times interview

“Bidding to Own a Piece of David Bowie”
New York Times, 11/11/2016
@ 2016 Roslyn Sulcas

 

“Turn Around”

One can often become so seduced by something pleasurable,
that one becomes consumed by it.

So it was as I shot photographs of a beautiful sunset over the ocean.
Shifting tones of reds, shimmers on the water, each moment a new experience!

The light dimmed. I felt satisfied.
I had captured what I wanted, and turned to leave.

And saw this.
A scene behind me that captured my heart far more deeply than the classic sunset. The wind blown grasses, the curves of the hill, lovely subtle color behind…
I felt my spirit leap over and upwards into the clouds.

Only time for two fast frames and then the light was gone. But the thrill of that sight, the inner awe, will remain with me each time I see this image.

Turn around. Remain open.

That which best feeds your heart may come to you in unexpected places.

Image: “Windy Grasses Sunset”
© 2016 Heidi Straube


“Sculpting Light”

hstraube_2015_houtotaos_fieldhousenewmexico_139pix_1000long-4264

The
Difference
Between a good artist
And a great one

Is:

The novice
Will often lay down her tool
or brush

Then pick up an invisible club
On the mind’s table

And helplessly smash the easels and
Jade.

Whereas the vintage man
No longer hurts himself or anyone

And keeps on
Sculpting

Light.

*****

Photographer’s Note:

I have always loved this poem by Hafiz and its layered meanings.

The idea of an artist not giving up, quietly continuing to create, making images of beauty, even when an original project does not come out as anticipated. Always drawing from the depths of Soul, seeing and sculpting the light.

And in our lives – an encouragement for keeping on, through loss, change, the unknown.
A reminder of the Light still alive within, more miracles of life yet ahead to be created.

In happy times, and those of sorrow –  May you always see and sculpt the Light.

*****

Image: “New Road to Taos: Trust”
© 2016, Heidi Straube
Hafiz poem, “The Vintage Man”

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