To be a good photographer you need to live the vast spectrum of human experience

Hey folks,

How are you doing right now? I hope things are good wherever you are.

This is Diana today, hello!

The more we are in lockdown the more Anthony and I are asking ourselves, what are we learning from this experience? What can we do with this time to help us live and create things in a deeper, more fulfilling way?

How can we draw something from it that makes us more aware and more in touch with the vast spectrum of human experience?

Being human means that of course we naturally get to see and feel so many different types of experiences – incredible joyous moments, times laced with sadness and fear, long hours of boredom.

Everything is available to us.

“Let everything happen to you
Beauty and terror
Just keep going
No feeling is final.”
Rainer Maria Rilke

But I think so many of these experiences that we have, we throw away. We discard as unimportant or insignificant.

Because we are so used to thinking of our lives in terms of being either productive or pleasurable.

But when we are creative people, everything can feed our imaginations.

We escape the long moments of daily domesticity in our minds by thinking of other things – work, pleasure, dreams of travel and wild riches, perhaps.

We discard the gentle poignant moments of quiet at night to escape into our phones or into a book or the latest sensational news.

I read an article on Brain Pickings about the writer Rainer Maria Rilke, that brought the spectrum of human experience into the ideas and the awareness of life that we can use as creative people.

He wrote that in order to be a writer (but let’s substitute photographer or any creative pursuit) we must allow all of the different experiences that life can be.

“For the sake of a few lines one must see many cities, men and things. One must know the animals, one must feel how the birds fly and know the gesture with which the small flowers open in the morning.

One must be able to think back to roads in unknown regions, to unexpected meetings and to partings which one has long seen coming…

To childhood illness that so strangely began with a number of profound and grave transformations, to days in rooms withdrawn and quiet and to mornings by the sea, to the sea itself, to seas, to nights of travel that rushed along on high and flew with all the stars — and it is not yet enough if one may think of all of this.

One must have memories of many nights of love, none of which was like the others, of the screams of women in labor…

But one must also have been beside the dying, one must have sat beside the dead in the room with the open window and the fitful noises.”

To me this awareness and connection with the big and small moments of life is so very essential to our exploration as creative people.

Both “the gesture with which the small flowers open in the morning” and “to days in rooms withdrawn and quiet”.

And to know “mornings by the sea” and “to nights of travel that rushed along on high and flew with all the stars”.

As creative people we can use everything, every single thing that we experience to see what ideas, what thoughts, what things our imaginations and our minds do with this plethora of things.

We can soak it all in.

Let us choose to live in our life, not push it away from us – let us embrace everything that our life is and what we choose to do with it, or whatever is thrust upon us.

And now we are having a collective time of isolation – that perhaps feels terribly lonely, or wonderful in it’s solitude or strange in the time-emptying-out of activities. This can spur us deeper into ourselves to find new realms of imagination and thoughts.

It’s perhaps obvious to say, and too simplistic really, that to create something, anything, you must have experienced both the good and the bad in life.

The light and the darkness of life feeds our minds and creates ideas.

But it is also saying that there are many other experiences between those highs and lows. The hundreds of train journeys we’ve taken, the nights we’ve held our sleepless baby and looked out onto the street, the darkness punctuated by warm globes of light; the endless washing up and cleaning of our dwellings.

All of our experiences are nourishment for the creative spirit, because:

“If your daily life seems poor, do not blame it; blame yourself, tell yourself that you are not poet enough to call forth its riches; for to the creator there is no poverty and no poor indifferent place.” Rainer Maria Rilke

Those are the thoughts and ideas I wanted to share with you today. I hope they provide something interesting to mull over.

We’d love to know what you think of these ideas, let us know in the comments below.

We have heard from many of you over these past few weeks, telling us how you are getting on in the places that you are in. And we love hearing from you.

For us it’s incredibly special to us that we have met so many of you – either in person or online on one of our many live sessions, webinars or classes.

We are always here – so if you feel like saying Hi we’d love to hear from you and see how you are doing at this strange and interesting time.

We are hoping you are all safe and well, and managing to use creativity for a way to explore all that this experience is bringing to our lives.

Sending our very best from our family to yours,

Diana and Anthony