I thought I’d set myself the challenge of shooting a whole series of images on one film and in one place and see if I could shoot a series that I dare to share in its entirety, warts and all.
Setting ourselves artistic limitations isn’t a new philosophy. I guess the starting point (I hope you’ve had your morning coffee) is Icarus, with the seemingly simple, but oh… SO wise quote; “All limits are self-imposed”. And therein lies a paradox, not just for our artistic life, but for life in general. 95% percent of everything we humans say, think and do comes from our subconscious. In other words, we are unaware of it and unknowingly, not in control of it. There are ways we can improve this threshold, and doing so will take our creativity to another level; but I’ll save that conversation for future posts (it’s a bit involved!). Because 95% of our emotional and creative direction is ‘seeded’ by our subconscious, so are our ‘limitations’. As Icarus (reportedly) told humankind we are limited only by our own subconscious.
The other paradox for photographers, is realised when we look at this the other way around. Instead of being unknowingly led by our subconscious, we can knowingly and ‘consciously’ create intentional limitations for ourselves. Why would we want to do this?
Well it turns out that when we knowingly impose limitations - like only shooting with one lens, or only in one style, or using a single roll of film - these consciously self-imposed limitations have a surprisingly liberating effect for our creativity. We are then in control of our creativity, rather than ‘it’ being in control of us! Pragmatically, one huge advantage is that it eliminates a lot of variables that would usually get in the way of us achieving that photographic Nirvana, the ‘FLOW’ state. When we limit the choices available, we limit our deliberations, this then frees up mental space and allows our creativity to sing.
If you are a photographer, there are lots of ways you can do this. One extreme would be shooting a ‘365’, posting one picture every day of the year, or start with something less arduous like shooting a series, in one place, on one day, in one style, with one camera, one lens, one aperture.
You might like to give it a go - enjoy.