Mel Collie


How to work with restraints

Everywhere you look theres an opportunity to take a photo.

We get bogged down in the location, having to travel somewhere, being up at the crack of dawn or coming home after sunset, worrying that we will never fit everything into a busy day/weekend and take photos...

When did you last stop and just contemplate the patterns of the light on the wall in front of you, or the dancing light and shadows on the ceiling above your head.

When did you stop to look at the patterns left behind in the mornings coffee cup.

When did you last step outside your back door and give yourself the restraint of working only within certain distance of your house, or just focus on a project of whats in your garden.

For me, having no car at first seemed like a disaster, especially in Cornwall, bus services are pretty dire and theres no underground to take you from one end to the other in super fast time.

You need a car.

So with limited funds and no vehicle, I started to walk. I discovered a harbour full of abstract images that still has many more to give. I discovered a beach walk that covers 5 different coves with an enormous amount of geology. All within a mile of home.

Both of these were divided into 2 projects.

Both of these have been published by Triplekite. Its at the printers now. Should be out beginning of November.

If I had stopped taking images because of my restraint of no car, I may have missed out on that opportunity. Instead, I chose to look at it another way and embrace it. Can't say it was easy, there were days when I thought "Really, again...cant I just go somewhere else..." but it was those times when I found the best treasure along the coast.

Heres how you can practice that, I found that working this way is very creative.

1. Always have your camera batteries charged up and your camera bag ready to go. Its easy to be lazy about it and not bother to go out. In your calendar make appointments for this task so you don't forget, have your camera by your side, ready to take images.
2. One hour. three times in the next 7 days, sit back in your kitchen/bathroom/lounge/bedroom or go for the short walk in the garden, or a mile radius of the house. Situate yourself so that you are in front of something you find interesting. If you are in the garden that might be a tree, a plant, part of a might be in your favourite chair looking out the window.
3. Put 10 minutes on your phones timer. Close your eyes. Notice your breath. Relax. (may sound weird but so many of us really do not know how to relax)
4. After 10 minutes, open your eyes. (10 minutes can be a long time when you are trying to relax)
5. Get your camera and start to take photos of what you see. Give yourself a limit of taking only 15
6. Notice when you feel the need to take a good photo. When you start to worry about it.
7. When the hour is up, put the camera down. Don't look at the images until you have repeated this another couple of times in the week ahead.

What does this do?

Slowing down allows the nervous system to stop being predominantly in fight, flight or freeze, the stress responses when our creativity can become stifled and we can then worry, procrastinate and not see the patterns, shapes, light, colour in front of us

Slowing down takes you into your para-sympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for rest and digest.

You see more clearly, you have more clarity in your thoughts, you feel calmer, reactions are different.

After a couple of weeks, relaxing this way will begin to feel easier.

My next blog post will be what to do after those 2 weeks and where this can take you

Mel Collie

Melanie CollieComment