Why’d You Do That?
Hey, that photo you took looks great! What fun and enjoyment in my brain! My eyes wish to thank you for the pleasure you bring to them. The right eye in particular is impressed. Don’t get me wrong, the left one is isn’t the least bit disappointed, but he’s a curious lad. He has a question for you. Why’d you do that?
Why did you take that photograph or make that film or tie-dye that shirt?
You have a reason, right?
When looking at a finished piece of work, a small but growing portion of your audience will side with my left eye in the example above and want to know why you made the decisions you made.
Oh, they’re the minority. Why worry about what they want? Because they’re the ones who are going to push you to become a better photographer, a better film maker, a better – um – tie dye shirt maker. You want to get better, right?
There’s nothing wrong with popping out on the town, firing off random snap shots of whatever tickles your fancy. Nothing wrong with it until you try to force other people to look at your dreck.
If you don’t know why you took that photograph or made that film or tied up that harmless organic hemp t-shirt and dunked it mercilessly in a bucket of boiling hot dye made from gluten free kukicha, albino hibiscus root, and eco-farmed beet tea, then why the heck should I care to look at it?
Are you flowin’ where I’m goin’?
Unless all you want to do is make snapshots, mindless home movies that your granny would fake a seizure to get out of seeing, or rainbow T-shirts with absolutely zero inspiration, you’re going to have to start thinking about why you are making these creative decisions. You are making creative decisions whether you think you are or not. And if you don’t think you are, start thinking about it. Don’t make me stop this car!
Look at your three favorite photos / films / tie dye shirts and think about all the creative decisions you made: the staging of the items, the pose, the lighting, camera angle, colors, v-neck or crew…. You follow? I mean everything. Then think about why you made those choices. You probably won’t have an answer for each one. That’s fine. For those, figure out why you like it now and maybe next time you can use that knowledge to have a reason that takes your work up a notch.
I know, I know, some of you are slaves to the “magic” of spontaneity. Spontaneity is nice, but if you’re an artist / creative type – or aspire to be – then you may find that being able to reliably communicate your idea beats the living crap out of spontaneity every day of the week and twice on Sundays. Sorry spontaneity, you had it coming, you smug bastard.
In order to reliably communicate your ideas it really helps to know why you make the creative decisions you make. If you aren’t already doing it, start thinking about why you did what you did to get what you got. Go ahead and give it a try. And take your tie dye with you, you dirty hippy!