The most asked question a photographer gets is “What equipment do you use?” I can say with certainty, mine is my imagination!….. Livonne
The imagination is one of our most undervalued assets. Yet we all have one. Some are more vivid than others, whether by birth or training. We’ve all seen it with children. Some will tell you the most wild stories ever while another needs to be encouraged to think outside the square. But encouraged they can be. By reading to them, by talking to them about your own dreams and by listening to theirs, their imagination will soon start to shine through.
Writers agonise over sending that imagination down through the wires of the brain, through their fingers to a keyboard and onto a page. They hear their characters speaking to them and have to put those words down in a way that a reader will understand. They are the ultimate interpretors.
Singers and songwriters have exactly the same 12 notes to use and the same dictionary available to them, yet manage to write songs which we love,hate or are ambivalent to, depending on our taste. It’s the combination and variation of those notes and the emotion behind the words that draw us in so deeply, yet all made with those same 12 notes.
A photographer walks around with a permanent frame around their eyes. They don’t see a whole scenic vista the way others do. They have it cropped for the perfect impact and ready to frame well before they’ve adjusted the lens and pressed the button to take the photo.
A knitter or crocheter doesn’t see their stash of wool as just a few random balls of yarn, they see the jumper, scarf, gloves or hat they could make from it. Just as a dressmaker sees a ballgown instead of yards of chiffon, lace and satin.
We can all buy exactly the same wool, material, camera equipment or computer and with those assets, we will all make vastly different objects. Why? Because our imaginations are so different to everyone else’s. We don’t see things the same way and we certainly don’t think things into being the same way.
I see a child blowing bubbles and in my imagination, there are ruby slippers floating inside them, waiting to be captured and worn down a yellow brick road. I hear a song and suddenly the moon really is made of green cheese, shining down on a golden haired toddler, snuggly tucked in bed. I pick up some discarded fake flowers and I don’t see dust collectors but instead, a beautiful woman, crowned in an array of exotic blooms looking up at me from under the foliage.
The most amazing thing about all of this, is that NO ONE sees the exact thing that I do. That is of course, unless I am able to take it from my imagination to a camera, onto a computer screen, then ultimately into print. Even if they try to copy what I do, that’s okay because chances are they will still see it from a slightly different aspect to me, which will completely change the story I was telling in the first place.
Next time someone asks what equipment you use, regardless of what it is you create…. tell them. MY IMAGINATION.