“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” – Lao-tzu

It is easy to fall back into old patterns.

I had hoped that by choosing Jungian archetypes for this term focus that I might tap into creativity and get away from a pragmatic approach.

In my tutorial with Patrick Sutherland on November 1st, I realised that I started this project in my usual fashion, producing an outline and mapping it out; seeing it before it is done. This is safe and controlled.

I have since scrapped this first idea that was to be a video composition integrating stills with video. I was going to lead with symbolic images capturing the feminine principle, ease into a series of women’s portraits, then add voice overlay of each person reading a stanza from a Maya Angelou poem. This was to represent the anima archetype. After reflection, I did not feel that it captured the anima archetype and that it could be banal.

This second school term is dedicated to “The Rethink” which requires us to challenge our comfort zones, to try new things in photography and to turn our current practice on its head.

As a departure from my current way of working and from this original proposal, Patrick encouraged me to let go of planned composition. Rather, he wants me to begin by simply producing street photography through emotional engagement. The point: think of how I am approaching it rather than how it may turn out.

Patrick’s process harnesses the journey and it allows me to suspend judgements’ along the way. I need to go with the flow. While, my usual approach focuses on the product rather than the experience. I can see how how limiting my habitual way is for the creative process.

Instead of defining an objective for each day, I will shoot what compels me and not judge my choices. From this stream of consciousness I should find archetypes in the photography, since in theory they are universal to society and should be self-evident. I am combining this with the meditation approach, to channel my subconscious to fuse the images.

Basically, I am diving in and will see what comes. After I produce some work I can see along the way what I can create. It is such a different way for me to work that it makes me uneasy. It is so unformed, so open-ended. I am not photographing to capture a moment, but rather a concept and of how I feel. I have no idea what the final product will look like.

Patrick provided many insights during our tutorial:

  • You are going on an interesting journey. I understand the idea of social ideas of femininity and how they are imposed upon people. But, I don’t see the idea of the archetype is in this. If this is where your journey has taken you that is fine, but you have made a departure from your vision of the archetypes.
  • Start with a list of archetypes. Can they be reconstructed in a way that works visually? If they can, then you have the starting point of a project. But, if photography is too reductive, than it is not viable.
  • You are taking this idea of archetypes and that they are universal – that these are the basic human condition. Anthropologists would question this, but we may see that this is true of all human beings – that the universal condition of being human is linked to the structure of the human consciousness. Can you find these archetypes, these manifestations out on the street? Find them around you in people’s behavior, in advertising, etc. Work in a much less controlled kind of way. The great thing about street photography is that it is completely uncontrolled, it is messy and loose and the opposite of the way you normally approach it. You may find some of these figures are around us all the time; you just have to find a way to recognize them.
  • There are quite a number of technical things that you want to do, intercutting into video software. The pictures are responding to the words and audio and to the concept of archetypes. There is a lot to learn and to consider. First make a very rough version technically, an incredibly unpolished version, to learn the basic technology to see the effect it will have on your shooting.
  • You need to have some idea of what you are doing, but if you try to visualize the finished product too clearly in your head you may find that you are hugely disappointed with the practicalities. Have a clear sense of how you are trying to do something rather than how it will look like. Then it will evolve and change substantially in the process. Keep it loose.
  • The problem with having a particular idea is that it can stop you from seeing things. The meditative approach is a way of taking you away from a rationale way of thinking. You just need to get out on the street and shoot pictures sometimes when you don’t even know why you are shooting something; you just want to take a picture. Don’t over think it. Don’t be literal. I have these ideas in my head and I will see what I see. I don’t even know why I am photographing something.
  • It is the nature of Rethink that you will come across brick walls.
  • Just enjoy the process of photography without controlling it so much.

And, here are a few early pictures in my process of meditative street photography.

A woman confronting her “Shadow” projection on public transportation.

20131101-1G5A8252

Animus in his 4th stage – “Hermes”, waiting in the spiritual realm to guide his female conduit.

20131102-1G5A8690

Anima in her 4th Stage – “Sophia”, availing herself to her male charge to help him find his way.

20131102-1G5A8897

The Collective Unconscious

20131102-1G5A8459