Thursday, May 29, 2014

Thought of The Day: Creative Inspiration (Negatives & Positives)

I was recently inspired by a young painter named Akiane. Perhaps you have heard of her, as her paintings of Jesus have made her somewhat famous.

One painting in particular really struck me. It is called The Nectar and is partially a "positive" and partially a "negative" in one image. Of course all paintings are positives. Negatives are a film photography thing. But it is painted in such a way that some of it looks like a negative.

Having an image contain parts that are positive and parts that are negative is metaphoric. Akiane said of her painting, "By sharing our gifts and responsibilities we become interdependent and transformed. The gardener is inviting the bees to bring color back to this colorless world. The bees vision has frequencies that few can detect. Through the eyes of the bees and through the support and the effort of the gardeners, the negative becomes positive, the nectar of life."

That's deep stuff for a young girl. I certainly wasn't thinking such thoughts at that age!
Double Negative - Tehachapi, California
Anyway, I realized that I had actually done something similar last year in an image called Double Negative. I photographed myself using a Pentax K-30 DSLR while holding a 120 negative that was captured using a Holga camera. In post-processing I reversed the image so that most of it was a negative and the film was a positive.

The meaning that I was trying to give Double Negative is that artists are often obsessive about their art, and that can be negative and positive at the same time. The negative is the time not spent with others or doing other things. The positive is the outcome, the wonderful piece that is created that can speak to people. The image got its name from the fact that it is a negative, and I'm holding a negative (which became a positive).  
Do Not Block Door - Tehachapi, California
I recently made another photograph which is both a negative and a positive. I captured Do Not Block Door with a Nokia Lumia 1020. In post-processing I gave the photograph a vintage look and then inverted the colors to make the door a negative.

There are two reasons that I did that. First, by inverting the color of just the door, I was able to create some color and light contrast to draw the viewer in. Second, some may view a door that has restrictions as a negative. The door cannot be used in normal day-to-day life, yet it also cannot be blocked by anything. What is the point of the door? If a fire or some other emergency were to ever happen at this place, the seemingly useless door could be a lifesaver. The negative would be a positive.

There are two takeaways from this post. First, inspiration can come from unlikely places, and do not be afraid to use that inspiration. Second, photographs that say something are better than photographs that don't. Not everyone will get whatever it is that you are trying to say, but it is better to have said it than not.

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