Mel Collie


How to think creatively

A couple of years ago I bought a book.

It was a photography book..but the first one I had bought that wasn't about photography, but about creativity and was by Guy Tal.

Recommended to me by Marc Elliott who runs the Impressions of Cornwall workshops with me, it was a book I haven't put down since. I read it again and again.

I love this book because it doesn't tell me what aperture to use, what speed my shutter should be doing, how to take perfect photos when the planets are aligned...etc etc

Theres one thing photography books do..they put me off photography. However, not this book.

Since then I have aquired a few other books that are more about seeing and about creativity rather than photography equipment.

Last weekend I went to a two day workshop lead by Doug Chinnery and Paul Kenny, because it wasn't about taking photos, and because I wanted to meet Doug and Paul, two of my photography heroes who have influenced my work and inspired my images and the way I use my camera.

This workshop was about Pauls unique work & thinking creatively. I was expecting a different workshop when the email said " don't bring your cameras..." Intriguing!

I had bought Pauls book, Seascapes, from Triplekite a couple of years ago because I wanted to see his photos close up, experience them on a different level, rather than just seeing them on a computer screen.

So..what were my takeaways from this workshop? How did it help me think more creatively?

1. Attend more workshops on a similar level, spending time in a room with like minded people you can talk too and feel at home with is fun and motivating. I hadn't expected that.

1. Believe in yourself, work from the heart, if it feels right, then it probably is. Experiment and don't be afraid to try new things, especially if its something no one else is doing.

1. Be scared (eeeekkk!!) when your work is critiqued by professionals who know their stuff...but they don't bite! Listen to advice and take any compliments given. Advice like this is precious. I wasnt expecting this from these 2 days, but enjoyed my work being looked at..  I was at a point that I wanted to know what to do next. The advice I received has been invaluable and helped me to make a few decisions to take the next step. I will be forever grateful for that.

1. Meet new people! Photography can be an isolating experience. I like working on my own, I can self motivate and get on with my work without anyone else around. I don't seek out connection from other human beings, so was surprised at how much I enjoyed chatting to everyone on the course, no one was pretentious, no one thought themselves any better than anyone else, we all loved the cheesecake after lunch!

1. Ask questions. The knowledge Paul & Doug have collectively is like gold dust. What a treat to have these 2 amazing minds in one room.

If you have a photography hero, invest your time and money in a workshop or indeed a 1:1 with them. The investment is worth it.

Investing in yourself is underrated. You can't expect people to invest in you if you don't invest in your self.

Whats on the cards in the months ahead?

For the past few months I've been considering putting a book together, this now may happen sooner than I thought. Making the effort , attending Doug & Pauls workshop, putting my work in projects over the past 2+ years and working consistently.

My home studio is having an overhaul, and I've invested in an Epson printer , thanks to Marc Elliott for this.

Now I need to learn how to print well...I feel another workshop with Doug coming on...


Melanie CollieComment