Last entry I wrote some notes regarding work flow, but re-described that concept as creative discipline, and a list of guidelines, do's and don'ts, that are the framework for cultivating creativity. An aspect I did not address was how creative work is finished and presented.
This has been a consistent challenge. How does an amateur finish his work? The over-arching realization I had to come to is this: The work is never finished.
This is terrifying and alleviating at the same time. Terrifying in accepting the fact that photographic work can never be finished. There is always something to attend to, something to critique, something to adjust, something to do better. There is not a single photograph that has made it to its arbitrarily final state for which I can state that it is 100% complete and I am satisfied with it.
Coming to this realization of the obvious was important in helping me make the next realization, which is any work that I produce is merely a snapshot of where I am at that moment in time, nothing more, nothing less. The terror of the first realization must be accepted before the freedom of the second can be realized.
What is this freedom? It is freedom from the disease of perfection, a horrible endeavor in art or anything we humans do. It allows me to get to the point of being finished enough to either get to the next step, or move on to other ideas and work. Finished enough is indeed finished.
This was important for me to get to the next step in my creative discipline, which is a very recent realization through action, not thought. This last Sunday, we shot out in the desert for an assignment. Monday I made the edit and started getting the selected photographs to a consistent treatment and look, made the realization that I thought the best presentation would be in book form. Tuesday, I finalized the edit and treatment and sent off the print order. Wednesday, I picked up the prints and started taping them to the wall to create the first draft of spreads, then put the spreads into a notebook. Presented the work on Thursday.
This was a hugely accelerated workflow / application of the creative discipline and I learned much from it - I like the notebook form. It may actually be my preferred form. The practicality of putting the printed work into a sequence and taping the images into a book just made sense for the way I am currently working. I am planning to continue to make the work this way.
This is a big breakthrough that I had to work through. I now know how I want my work to be seen in a "final" form. I can stop thinking about this and just concentrate of the creative discipline.