I love teaching fine art nude photography workshops because of the “Ah-Ha” moments. At one recent workshop, several participants were commenting that they just didn’t like the location and couldn’t find anything to use as backgrounds for their shoots. The irony was I had been walking around overwhelmed by the opportunities I saw.
That was the “Ah-Ha” moment. I realized that it wasn’t a situation where I just saw with more astute eyes, but rather that I was able to see the unique opportunities for what they were rather than impose my aesthetic on what was in front of me.
The reality is that our experiences shape the way we look at the world mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually. As humans, and as visual artists, we then filter the opportunities that present themselves to us. Maybe we grew up in cities and are uncomfortable with wide open spaces. Maybe we grew up in a mediterranean climate and can’t see the beauty in semi-arid environments. Whatever our bias, we filter the world we travel through. Recognizing that, and consciously looking for the opportunity in everything we see is key to breaking through our own limitations.
After talking about this during a break and showing the participants some of the locations I had seen, people were able to shift in how they looked at the location. And in the critique the next day, some truly special images popped up on the screen. It’s incredibly rewarding to see that “Ah-Ha” moment and the resulting growth in other artists.