Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Original Thinking...

I am currently listening to The Art of Original Thinking by Jan Phillips. While not directly related to photography, I found that it has enlightened and emboldened me about creativity and the world around me. The premise is that we can not go on as we are and that everyone can be a change agent. It also allowed me to recognize the assumptions that are lodged in my brain that I value and apply to everything around me. Most are not correct assumptions and I need to work at revising them. She talks at length about the perils of duality (the quality or character of being twofold, dichotomy, opposites) thinking that has been learned from childhood.
She gives examples of change agents like Dorothea Lange, who driving by a migrant camp one night, was touched by the scene, and after going on 12 miles, turned around and came back to the camp and took some photographs - most notably: Migrant Mother. These images influenced John Steinbeck to write The Grapes of Wrath, which was later made into a film. This gave public attention to the plight of farmers in the dust bowl/depression and resulted in Congress passing laws which aided the farmers. As documentary photographers, one never knows the effect the images might have own society.
If nothing else, listening to The Art of Original Thinking has heightened my awareness of the world (nature and humankind) around me. This is useful for creating powerful thoughtful photographs.