Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Comfort Zones.......

I did quite a bit of reading last summer, but there is one book I read three times! That is very unusual for me.

The book was "A Beautiful Anarchy: When the Life Creative Becomes the Life Created" by David duChemin.  David is a "world and humanitarian photographer, nomad and author". (I also mention David duChemin in this post: "Finished".) He has written other books that I have also enjoyed, but they did not get me thinking like this one did. Some of his books include basic photography knowledge, but he also writes quite a bit about attitudes, mindsets and all that emotional garbage that messes up my head when I am trying to create. This particular book is by no means just for photographers, which he states in the beginning:

"This is a book about the freedom to create - to live a life of unapologetic, passionate, daring creation - in whatever arena resonates best for you."

I don't know about you, but just reading that sentence makes me stop and wonder "how would that feel?" "is it possible?" and "I want that!". 

(I am sprinkling a few autumn "leaf" images throughout this post.........more about those later.)

©2014 Dianne Poinski

I highlighted the hell out of this book and thought I would share one of my favorite passages.

"The magic rarely happens within our comfort zone, but outside it, on the ragged, scary edge, where we have to fight like hell to keep from drowning in the unknown. This is where most of us create our best stuff, have our most adventurous thoughts and feel the most alive."

I know this one well. It would have been easy for me to stick with what was working for me.... hand coloring my photos and leading "hand coloring" workshops. When I say "working," I mean people were buying my art and paying me to teach them about it. But something was missing. I began longing to create images that in many ways were not possible with the techniques I was using at the time.

I have written at length about my fear of changing things up, but as many of you know, I have not let that stop me. I am constantly stepping outside my comfort zone in my attempts to try new ways of making what I am envisioning in my head, a reality. Many times it doesn't work, but the quest leaves me energized and eager to keep trying.

©2014 Dianne Poinski

While I was at the art festival a couple of weeks ago, I had many folks come into my booth that remember me from all the years I did that show, dating back to 1999. More than a couple of times, these people remarked that my work "looked different". Most seemed OK with that, but a few seemed a little uncomfortable. It was not familiar...........

I think I would be more worried if my work looked like it did back in 1999. Wouldn't you?

One thing that has not changed, however is the rush and energy I get out of the pure act of photographing. Twice last week I woke up to the silence and dampness that is our tule fog. When this happens, I usually brush my teeth, throw on some clothes and head out. I have found the days that began like this feel different. It's like I took a little vacation and escaped, even if it was just for a couple of hours. While this isn't exactly "stepping out of my comfort zone", I am breaking up my routine and, as a result, I have that sense of "feeling the most alive".

The photos in this post are from one of those mornings. I saw these wet leaves on this black, possibly marble, bench and was struck by the contrast. 

©2014 Dianne Poinski

I think I am going to reread David's book again............ I may have more to share about it later.

How do you feel when you step outside your comfort zone?

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