Sometimes I forget what a procrastinator I am.
It all came rushing back, though, yesterday when I was throwing my project together at the last minute. Gosh, I’m so glad I’m done with school. There are lots of things I like and miss about being in school, but that strange sort of only-half-aware-of-anything-else frantic-ness—yeah, I don’t miss that so much.
When I say I was throwing my project together at the last minute, I don’t mean I was taking pictures up until the last minute. I have been taking pictures for weeks. I mean I was literally throwing it together: trying to stick my photos onto foam core and to get my artist’s statement printed out and to find something to take for the class potluck (one advantage of continuing ed, I guess).
I was only ten minutes late.
Or maybe fifteen.
Anyway, without further ado I present my final project:
(and, since it was my mom’s idea, she’s the lucky winner of a Chicago song sung by me next time I see her. Hey, Mom, I think I stole the sheet music for ‘You’re the Inspiration’ from you about ten years ago. Maybe I’ll finally learn how to play it for when I sing it to you. I know you can’t wait.)
We were supposed to write an artist’s statement to go along with our photos. I thought about mine a lot, and was fairly pleased with how it turned out. I didn’t really want to read it in front of the class, though.
When I got to class, and we started showing our pictures, I realized everyone else had artist statements that were about three sentences long.
Mine is a page.
I reallydidn’t want to read it in front of the class, then. After showing my photos, my teacher didn’t mention my artist statement, so I thought, “Phew.” However, after the last person had gone, my teacher said something like, “I really appreciate those of you who took the time to write up your artist statements.”
Apparently, I need validation.
I said, “I wrote one, too. But it’s kind of long.”
And then I read it in front of everyone.
After I was done, one of my class members said, “If the photography thing doesn’t work out for you, you could be a writer.” (I think she said that because my artist statment is as long as a book.) Anyway, here it is:
The act of creating something—a painting, a story, a photograph, a quilt—is something I hold close to my heart. In my photo series, I tried to show the metamorphosis between something without inherent value (a piece of fabric in this case) and how, through creativity, it was turned into something valuable.
Changing from nothing to something is a huge leap. The fabric itself doesn’t feel different, but its use has been expanded through the creative act. While the fabric is changed physically, it’s the creative person who brought about those physical changes, and, in turn, the person who experiences growth.
Although I enjoy sewing, I don’t consider myself proficient. When I want to make something I almost always use a pattern. Does that negate my creative act? I don’t think so. Just as artists study the work of great masters, so can I use another’s creativity to spur on my own.
Just as thousands of writers have used the same words to create different stories and thousands of composers have used the same notes and instruments to create different songs, so, too, does every person bring something unique to their creations.
In photographing the development of a sewing project, I looked for ways to make this commonplace process visually interesting. It’s difficult to show the way a person is enlightened through a creative act, to illustrate the spark of creativity that makes something a little bit better than it would be without it. I don’t know if I captured that or not. I do know this, though: I learned a lot about creativity, both through sewing and photography.
Whether it be creating clothes from pieces of fabric or creating pictures from what passes through a camera’s viewfinder, the act of creation stretches us to look outside ourselves and become better than we are.
Does that sound too pompous? I hope not. Anyway, photo class is over. I learned a lot, but I’ll be glad to have my Wednesday evenings back so I can learn about emergency preparedness.