In one of my previous blog posts I discussed how much my view on photography and the work I create has changed over the last year of my life. I explained that it’s nice to be back in the saddle and creating photographs that I want to create — not just photos for an assignment or a paying client. I thought it would be easy to pickup where I left off but I decided to take the time to look over my work and analyze it thoroughly. And in an effort to not repeat myself and also gain a bit more control over the look and feel of my photographs, I’ve started to create things based on an initial idea and not just what I see and capture.
The first stumbling block for me with this approach and style of photography is that everything you shoot goes towards building up a vision. I need to have a constant flow of new and creative ideas that I am excited about turning into photographs. These ideas must, in my opinion, also have a certain consistency to them regarding the type of idea that it is ( hopefully a good idea ) and how well it is executed through a photographic process. My solution to all of these criteria comes in the form of what is known as the Vision Board.
During my sophomore year of high school I was taking a creative writing class. Every now and then, it almost feels like a certain group of kids were meant to be put in the same space with each other for a trimester. The older students were role models to the younger students and they all fed off of each other during group activities and discussions. Everyone was a good, attentive listener and gave useful feedback and positive criticism for all pieces of writing. After high school was over, this class had turned out to be one of the best classes I could have taken during all four years of high school. One day our teacher shared with us a film called The Secret. The film explains the concept of the vision board and gives a few examples of its potential effects. Funnily enough, I was able to find a link to the full film online and embed its contents below! Please watch it, it is not very long, and if nothing else you should come out of it with some motivation to go do something productive.
Over the past few years I have come to know Vision Boards as a means to help attract anything to you. It is my view that a Vision Board should at the very least help to quickly place you in a happy and creative mood. I think that as long as you do in fact create your own Vision Board then you will feel good about it. I cannot think of a time where I have created something all on my own and not felt happy and accomplished at the end. However, it is not restricted to these few traits, the overall purpose of the Vision Board can change over time. I’ll give you a few examples:
My first Vision Board, from my CW class in high school, was filled with many material wants. There were a lot of shirts and shoes, electronics and computers all over the board. But there were still things that made me happy, I put a few quotes of things I found to be inspirational and a few pictures of people that were important to me. A close friend. A role model. Basically my board was a digital rebel from Canon’s first DSLR lineup and a few flannel shirts and a nice, big photo of Owl City’s Ocean Eyes album cover.
My second Vision Board came about in late 2011/12 and defined a lot of the things from the first vision board but only one step further. Oddly enough I ended up purchasing, without really trying to, the exact camera I had placed on the first Vision Board in May of 2010, just after the CW class had ended. I hadn’t even looked my board in a really long time but it had turned out I had somehow managed to acquire almost all of the things I had wanted. I had to put the Macbook Pro back onto this second Vision Board because I had not gotten one yet. I also added a Wacom Tablet, Computer Monitor, Kindle, and crazy Photoshop skills onto this second vision board. So I had somehow managed to bring photography much further into my life by going through and creating a physical, tangible object like a Vision Board and clearly defining what I wanted with pictures from Google images. This second Vision Board had about an equal amount of material items and intangible qualities like PS skills or creativity. This board stayed up in my bedroom until I came back from college a month or two ago and I took it down because it was looking a bit out of date. I had acquired a newer camera, the Wacom Tablet and computer monitor. I even was able to get some more skills with PS while I was blindly surfing the internet in my dorm one day only to come across Phlearn, the handiwork of Aaron Nace. I now own about 8 or 9 PRO tutorials and I have learned more about Photoshop in the past six months from Phlearn than I could have ever imagined.
I have just finished my third Vision Board as of July 8th and it is my best, most-complete Vision Board yet.
I think this Vision Board is my best yet because it best describes me as I am on the date of its completion (July 8th, 2013) but it also best describes where I want to go in the future. It is the best at describing, in detail, my artistic and creative goals, who my role models are, who I am trying to emulate, and what I want my next photographs to look and feel like. This Vision Board clearly defines different sources of inspiration for me while making me feel good and it puts me in a positive mood even at a short glance. This board was very fun and therapeutic to make while my first board felt a bit forced and was difficult to create because there was a time constraint and a graded assignment involved. This board, as well as the second, was made solely for the purpose of having a physical point of focus on my almost everything important to me creatively. This board is an anchor to help me to stay the course, focus on a goal and pursue it. I could not be more excited about this Vision Board. I could not be more excited to bring everything in my head that much closer to fruition.