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Motivation is a photography blog that discusses the creative aspects of photography. The posts will include thoughts about images and their interpretation, photographers and their work, technique, workflow, my ongoing projects, and perhaps even the occasional off topic rant.

Art & Fear, Part II

If you haven’t already read yesterday’s blog entry (Art &Fear, Part I) I would like to humbly request that you back up a day and give it a quick read rather than start in the middle……Great..... all caught up…then off we go.

In a prior post I had expressed concern about the fact that once you have made more than one image you were likely to have favorites. Bayles and Orland address this, noting that:

“The function of the overwhelming majority of your artwork is simply to teach you how to make the small fraction of your artwork that soars.” (page 5).

In regards to the fact that the more one learns and understands, the more questions get asked:

“Having come this far, it’s tempting to try to bring this idea to closure by resolving all those leads into a single clear, concise, fundamental, finely honed answer. Tempting, but futile. Answers are reassuring, but when you’re onto something really useful, it will probably take the form of a question.” (page 113).

And, ultimately:

“In the end it all comes down to this: you have a choice (or more accurately a rolling tangle of choices) between giving your work your best shot and risking that it will not make you happy, or not giving it your best shot – and thereby guaranteeing that it will not make you happy. It becomes a choice between certainty and uncertainty. And curiously, uncertainty is the comforting choice.” (page 118).

I truly wish that I had read this book much sooner. It is an interesting read. Interesting, that is, if you are not a maker of art, but, rather, an observer of art. To the observer on the outside with a desire to examine the artistic process, it will surely give insight into what thoughts and struggles go on in the mind of an artist trying to achieve his or her vision of the world. Perhaps more importantly, it goes far beyond interesting…I would even say enlightening….if you are a maker of art. If you are “living an artistic life” and are “on the inside” trying to fathom how to best understand and deal with the inner conflicts and uncertainties that producing art entails then sitting down with this book is surely more than interesting; it is a way to gain a greater understanding of one’s artistic self.

Art & Fear is certainly a wise investment at only 10 bucks. And if you are anything like me, in very short order your copy will be dog-eared, highlighted, underlined or whatever it is that you do when you want to be able to come back to something time and again.