“Perfection will paralyze you” Keith Carter
Walkabout sounds Australian. The Native Americans believed that you could find spiritual guidance in the everyday. An art walkabout is a personal spirit quest— a letting go of all expectations. Being present and immersed in the moment. Exploring whatever moves you as you walk. It’s about moving away from a technical approach to image making and shifting towards using your intuition and passion.
Rules are designed to give you repeatable results. Like a recipe. If you follow the rules, you get a desired result. It’s great in the beginning when you are first learning the art of image making. Finding an authentic voice or point of view requires departing from that and trusting your intuition in bending the rules. Finding out where the edges are and stepping outside the boundaries of rules.
My background in commercial advertising photography involved a lot of rules. The quest for perfection in lighting and image clarity and sharpness. My recent acquisition of a Lensbaby Composer has pushed me to break the rules and trust my intuition.
A Lensbaby is a wonderful, funky lens created by Portland native Craig Strong, that is beloved for it’s imperfections. You manually focus the lens with a sweet spot of focus that can be shifted around by literally moving the lens on a ball socket. The edges smear light and focus and create these wonderful shapes and patterns. It breaks all the rules. Think of running with scissors next to a pool during a thunderstorm with a kite in tow. Yeah, that’s a Lensbaby. It’s creative freedom.
Not getting caught up in the pursuit of perfection, but rather a world inside the viewfinder that is more about space relationships, form and light. A still moment that has no distraction, no sound, music or noise. Just you and the moment. The art walkabout is a solitary experience, soulful and present.
Letting go of the outcome, the rules of engagement changed. These are a few favorites from my walkabout in Fort Scott, Kansas. Why Kansas? More on that in a future post. The images are darker than I would normally prefer, but they feel right to me. It’s how it felt to stand there on that winter day in Kansas.
How do these feel to you? What do you like about them? I hope this inspires you to grab your camera and take a walkabout for yourself. Turn your world upside down and backwards. Change the rules of engagement.