Whenever I travel for business I try to explore the city I’m in by taking walks before and after taking care of business. Naturally I take a camera with me. Jay Maisel always said that if you always have a camera with you, you never have to go out to take pictures. Certainly I always have a camera via my phone and I use that extensively, posting those images to Instagram and Mundaily. However, for what I’ll share on in this space, I’m making a rule that none can come from a phone but from a proper camera.
In most any city, you can find interesting places. Last October found me in Vienna, which happens to be visually richer than many and thus I was more prolific. Most are in and around the city, however I had a beautiful fall Sunday to explore the Wachau Valley west of Vienna on bike. It was nothing short of magical.
In this edit, I enjoy assembling juxtapositions of color and subject that add more personality to the images than if they were shown singularly. They’re all about light, color and gesture – three qualities Jay impressed upon me during a workshop long ago in Aspen, Colorado.
Each February for the past four years you’ll find me in Amsterdam. I spend the day I land walking the city with camera in hand, looking at how I can see and discover things I hadn’t in previous trips. There’s a lot you miss when first visiting a new city; particularly one as visually rich as Amsterdam. I love this city’s architecture and saw it differently on this trip, although I’m always drawn to the areas around the canals.
Subtle red is not. Red is bold and brash. It demands you look at it. That you stop what you’re doing and acknowledge it’s presence before you. Red is like a petulant toddler interrupting your deepest conversations. Red tips others off to how you’re feeling. You turn red when embarrassed. Or angry. But whatever you do, try not to go in the red as that robs you of your options, holding you hostage and preventing you from realizing your most important dreams. But right now, red is beckoning once again!
You can say you’ll take that chance once in a blue moon, or that you’re feeling blue. Perhaps you like to listen to the blues. Or for you it’s clear blue skies all the way. Maybe you live in a blue state and love the taste of fresh blueberries in the summer while watching the blue birds flit from branch to branch. However, it should be pretty clear that for the third of 52 visual explorations, this week is all about blue. Thankfully, we did have some of those clear blue skies we love!
This week is about matter, however you define it. Whether it’s brain ‘matter’, organic, transient matter or something more permanent. In the midst of a two-week New Year’s food cleanse, I happened to have this leftover cabbage, and not being a big fan of it, thought it was better suited to something other than my next meal . .
For the past few years I’ve assigned myself ongoing projects to sharpen the eye and stimulate my visual thinking. They’ve been pretty simple, requiring nothing more than sticking to it and taking a moment each day. I started with the daily sky, then followed the next year with a daily observation tied to a single word. In this one, I merely reacted to what I saw and experienced during the day, then later applied a word to the image. Rarely did I have to work to ‘find’ the image; they were just there as I went through the day. I’m continuing this project, but no longer limiting it to a single word, nor worrying about repeating a word during the year.
In an effort to stretch my visual muscles a little more, I’m embarking on a weekly image inspired by a word or phrase. The images will be driven by a word or phrase determined in advance. They may be found or created, photographic or drawn. Given my penchant for picking up a camera, I might even toss in some mixed media to push myself a little further. The key is that I don’t over think the concept, stay with the confines of time (must be created during that week), and that I let go and explore. There’s no client and no other objective outside of seeing how that influences writing and communication. Will this enhance my ability as a marketer? Or will it merely feed the creative spirit? We’ll see!
This first week is ‘Path’. We all like to have a clear path to follow with an ability to make our own. Sometimes there’s obstacles in the way of our chosen path, and other times, we look over the edge, wondering if we should take that leap. But to grow as individuals and increase our capacity to perform, there are times we must take that leap without knowing for certain whether we’ll sink or swim. It’s an act of faith. Most often, however, we’re limited by our fears and the stories our minds tell ourselves. When we do take that leap, it’s usually not as bad as we envisioned when we look back. Such experiences help us take the next leap and experience life rather than remain prisoners of our minds. So take that leap this year; push yourself to do something beyond what you tell yourself you’re capable of doing!