What does the creative process look like? Over the past few years I've tried to describe my creative process to students but don't think I was able to articulate what happens during this process well enough. I decided to take this on as a creative exercise to visualize my creative process in abstract form. What I realized when I was thinking of the process is that I was able to break down my process and generalize it into 6 distinct stages. From there I was able to create a sort of creative algorithm that explains and guides my path from inspiration to production. Below is my creative algorithm.
Am I inspired?
If Inspired = False then loop until Inspired, If Inspired = True, proceed
Am I transparent? (Am I honest and true to my self, my intentions and my willingness to share)
If Transparency = False then loop until True. If Transparency = True, proceed
Can I execute my vision? (Requirements Gathering / Plan of Attack / skill assessment and/or acquisition)
If Vision Execution = false, loop until True. If Vision Execution = True, proceed
Do I believe? Am I willing to put in the time and effort to bring this vision to light and create without compromise. Do I believe I can achieve this vision?
If I Believe = false, loop until True. If I Believe = True, proceed
Can I work without restriction of judgement or comparison? Can I truly produce something real and authentically mine?
If Authentic Work = false, loop until True. If Authentic Work = True, loop while (work < complete) when work = complete, proceed
Can I simplify and refine? Can I view my work from outside myself and strip away frivolous items and details unimportant to the whole?
If Simplify and Refine = false, loop until True. If Simplify and Refine = True, loop while (work < complete) when work = complete, finish and and begin again.
Details behind the photographs as explained using my algorithm.
Step 1 - Am I Inspired? Inspiration came from student inquiries about my creative process
Step 2 - Am I Transparent? I decided that I would like to share my creative process in my own unique way. This format of explaining or sharing might not appeal to all and opens criticism into possibly being overly stylized, an ineffective blend of art, data science and psychology or just plain confusing. I decided that I wanted to explain this process by practicing the process in hopes that this would reach and spark something in the few, not concerned about the all.
Step 3 - Can I execute my vision? I decided to experiment with a new technique not knowing exactly how effective the outcome. All five images are double exposure created in camera using a Canon 5D MkIII and colored gels. Each image was first taken with one color gel then switched out for the second color to capture the effect. I tried this in two ways. 1 - swapping out the gels in the same light in a one light setup (this is the process that was used in the images above). 2 - using two lights, one with each colored gel and switching the channels between exposures. This worked well but was not as effective as it required me to move the camera and was more difficult to align the subject for the second exposure.
Step 4 - Do I Believe? I believe, however as an artist I know I can only do better (note the final step in the total algorithm ends with finish and begin again). I was happy enough with the product of Step 3 in this exercise/project that I felt comfortable sharing it. I now have a creative way to share my process and my work and I learned a new technique that I can build upon.
Step 5 - Can I work without restriction of judgement or comparison? My answer to this is yes and no. In line with transparency, I held onto these images longer than I intended to. I did not write up this article until five months after I created the images. I shared some images on social media to add content and gain feedback so the work was created without judgement or comparison but the final steps were not as I was looking for some insight into a preview of how they would be received. Social media is not a good gauge of the value and effectiveness of art in my opinion it's more of a force of regression to the mean for user activity so it's not the best influence for unestablished creatives. I should have stayed true to my self and believed that I did not have to gauge the images prior to deciding whether or not to release them on my website. That being said, we'll proceed.
Step 6 - Can I simplify and Refine? Since the images were created in-camera there was no refining outside of the editing process of which six images I felt represented my process in my opinion.