Is there any artistic endeavor which engages the brain so totally as does photography?
I like to think of it as my creative outlet. Certainly there is no doubt that photography is artistry. And based on the images photographers create - ranging from the wonderful to the startling - there is no doubt that the best photographers enjoy and express unlimited creativity.
But that said . . . there is another side to this work as well.
That realization hit me solidly last week, as I had to put the joy of right brain activity aside for a few days of solid left brain focus. To reiterate what every photographer knows only too well: there is a lot more to this work than the snapping of pretty pictures.
The happy news is that I got a new camera at last, finally actually holding in my hands the Nikon D800 I've been lusting for since early this year. That acquisition produced initial happiness, followed by a serious bout of manual-reading, feature-googling, and practice manipulation with a highly sophisticated piece of equipment. The saying goes that it's very unwise to fall in love with something that cannot love you back, and that is particularly true in this case.
The D800 is terrific, but it's also different. That means, time spent understanding the menus, learning the external functions, becoming accustomed to the heft, and experimenting with a whole set of new focal options.
Though we're still getting acquainted, the first foray with my new true love went quite well. Right up to the moment when I returned home and attempted to load the images into Lightroom. Lightroom said: I don't think so.
I like to think the panic than ensued was relatively brief. A few e-mails and an endurable session of googling later, I had learned that it would be necessary to update my software - not a favorite activity but often an essential one. I accomplished that without too much pain, only to learn (to no surprise by this time) that naturally various plug-ins would also need to be upgraded.
I won't say more about those experiences, exception to mention that I am not much of a techie, and so the tasks that would have taken a 10-year-old 15 minutes or so took me just a little bit longer.
In the midst of all this, I learned that I have a fine opportunity to show an image in an important area gallery. Which inspired to learn a skill that's been on my back burner for too long, mat cutting.
This tale could go on, but I'll stop here, point more than sufficiently made.
My lovely friend, the artist Mya Louw, tells me that this right brain left brain challenge is true for all artists, but I am not so sure. This week's photo of her studio (taken with the thrilling new camera!) is meant to convey that transition, that movement of tools and materials into art. I understand that all artists must think in terms of mathematics and the practical properties of their materials.
But is there another artistic pursuit that so fully engages right brain and left as does photography?
I find it seriously hard to believe.