(Getting to) The Heart of Our Art

I’m a glutton for a good quote and I regularly feast on them.  They help us shape our ideas and give us new perspectives.  Naturally, it’s important to ensure other ideas, regardless of source, are compatible with our own values and tastes.  Kinda like voting.  This week’s blog is a collection of thoughts on the topics of IDEA, IMAGINATION and INTENT that I’ve been collecting for decades.  One or more might seem to contradict others or even you and you might be as surprised as I’ve been to learn who said it, too!

“I am enough of an artist to draw freely upon my imagination.  Imagination is more important than knowledge.  Knowledge is limited.  Imagination encircles the world.”  – Albert Einstein

“There is nothing more dreadful than imagination without taste.”  – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Sight is one of God’s greatest gifts to mankind.  But there is a ‘seeing’ that surpasses even this faculty.  Someone once cluelessly said to Helen Keller, “Isn’t it terrible to be blind?”  She responded, “Better to be blind and see with your heart than to have two good eyes and see nothing.”

“The imagination imitates.  It is the critical spirit that creates.”  – Oscar Wilde, Irish playwright, novelist, poet

“The best way to start any project is to begin with the end in mind.  The clearer it is in our mind what our message (intent) is the better we can make it.”          – B. W. Hinson

“If the average photographer could divert his interest in types of camera, lenses, lights, etc., to what he photographs and why he photographs it, the world would be filled with good photographers.” – Edward Steichen, Famous Photographer

“There is nothing worse than a brilliant image of a fuzzy concept.”  – Ansel Adams

“I’ve never taken a picture I’ve intended.  They’re always better or worse.”  – Diane Arbus

“A photograph is not an accident – it is a concept.  It exists at, or before, the moment of exposure….”  – Ansel Adams

“Depart not from Nature in your opinions, lest you set your opinions above Nature’s.”  – R.W. Emerson

“But how shall I get ideas?  Keep your wits open! Observe! Observe! Study! Study! But above all, Think!  Think!  And when a noble image is indelibly impressed upon the mind – Act!”  – Orison Swett Marden

1 Comment

  1. SIDEBAR: First, a huge thank you to my faithful readers; I’m honored by your loyalty.

    There is an undercurrent to all these posts, a hidden mnemonic in the form of an acronym. It’s the letters V-A-L-I-D. They’ve been chosen to help you remember some key points and The VALID Method ™ is at the core of how I teach my 8 month Obedience Training for Your Camera ™ course in Colorado Springs, CO.

    This is a bit overly simplistic, but here goes:
    Any topic having to do with light and tonal values is represented by the letter “V” for VALUE.
    Whatever has to do with how things are arranged within the frame of a photo is represented by the letter “A” for AREA.
    Those visual elements dealing with LINE, of course, are symbolized by “L”.
    Likewise, “I” stands for IDEA, INTENT, IMAGINATION and a litany of other “I” words.
    Finally, “D”, will remind you of DEPTH and how to achieve that illusion in your photos with one eye tied behind your back.

    More on this later.

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