Art comes in various forms to every one of us. To some, their art comes in the form of dancing, singing, painting, creative innovation, writing, playing musical instruments, making culinary masterpieces, or even talking. All of these are just snippets of the universe called art.
If there is something I enjoy doing, it is taking photos, writing, singing and teaching. Even though I do not have a favorite on the list, photography seems to have a different vibe. I guess I love the fact that I can literally “grab” or “snap” a particular location within time and “transfer” that location to somewhere else or store it in a device. It just feels terrific to be able to do that.
Now, I tend to have definitions for anything I am interested in, and it makes sense to me. I am that guy who hates being boxed into a notion or ideology that restricts my ability to have or create my ideology or thoughts about things or concepts. If a definition does not make sense to me or has exhausted its original usefulness, I create a new one for myself.
If you search online, you will probably find many definitions of photography and even art in general, which are all likely to be valid. But for me, photography means:
“the art of painting with light, in which your camera is your brush and the universe is your canvas.”
For me, ART is an acronym for the “Ability to Recreate Thoughts”. And it makes a whole lot of sense to me that it’s true that art in all its form is not what one creates because one can think up something, but what one recreates out of what is created within the universe and which is projected to the human mind through thoughts and imaginations.
The truth is, there is nothing new in the universe, and creativity is really about taking what has already been created within the universe and giving it expression in the natural world, which means that you really cannot think up something that does not already exist somewhere within the universe. Thus, a piece of art is really what it is: a piece of art and not art itself. Art is the ability to recreate that which has been created within the vast spectrum of the universe and then give it a piece of expression. So, when you buy a painting, you are not buying art; you are buying a physical piece of art recreated from an already existing mental or spiritual piece of art.
It’s like when you take a photo with your camera; the camera does not create the object you snapped; it is always there. The camera was just your tool for recreating that which was already there. And that’s the beauty of nature. Nature allows us to take samples of herself and never charges us for copyright infringement. It’s just so lovely to be able to do that.
Photography and stories
There are stories all around us if we open our eyes to see them. Waking up in the morning to see that beautiful shade of yellow-gold light sipping through the window blind is a lovely story of a new day and a new dose of life, and that is a story that not everyone will have the opportunity to tell. Some people die in their sleep and never get to see the sunrise.
Now, if photography is painting with light, painting must mean highlighting a subject or a portion of a subject to tell a story. Sometimes, the story is not found in the whole but in the small portions of the whole subject. Every subject has a story; painting with light highlights that hidden story.
This is the thought and the story behind why I like photography. You can shed light on the small portions that make up the larger image of anything and still get a beautiful story of the whole.
For me, creativity is not a competition against others; it’s a competition against your excuses. And this is true from all angles. There are days when the weight of life won’t encourage you to do anything creative, but that is when true creativity manifests like a miracle.
Nothing beats the feeling of seeing one’s creative hard work come to light. But much more than that, nothing beats the excitement of seeing one’s work on the walls of happy clients. It not only gives one the resources to continue to create by way of people buying one’s art, but it is also very fulfilling to know that others value and appreciate your work. But what happens when no one seems to value or appreciate your work? You keep creating. Why? Your creative competition is not between you and those who may or may not understand your work. Your creativity is about you and the flow of the unending ideas that must keep flowing from you through your lens to your world.
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Samuel Phillips is a writer, graphic designer, photographer, songwriter, singer and a lover of God. As an Afrikan content creator, he is passionate about creating a better image and positive narrative about Afrika and Afrikans. He is a true Afrikan who believes that the true potential of Afrika and Afrikans can manifest through God and accurate collaborations between Afrikans. Afrika is the land of kings, emperors, original wisdom, ancient civilizations, great men and women and not some road-side-aid-begging poor third world continent that the world finds joy in undermining.