Updated: Oct 30, 2018
By Claire Rosen
The book is for artists of all flavors, not just photographers. Claire's art medium of choice is photography, but the ideas and exercises in this book cross easily into the other arts. Claire doesn't claim to have everything figured out, but what she does have figured out, she shares in this book - and she shares what she's still working on.
Though the book, she takes us through the development of her creative process and how she arrived at the place she is artistically as well as commercially.
As Claire notes:
This book is less about photography and more about using photography to express your personal point of view and experience the world. Your body of work is the manifestation of your perspective and experience. It's the piece of yourself that you leave in the world.
Claire is very philosophical in her approach to her photography and her development as an artist. She shares some of the research that has influenced her thinking including describing some neuroscientific studies. She also shares some of the philosophers that influenced her including Carl Jung.
Though much of the book is philosophical in tone, there are also practical exercises interspersed. One that particularly influenced me was in the section on personal vision which Claire discovered while working with a Brand Strategiest. She was trying to develop a unique and personal style. The exercise outlined in the book includes listing words that described her personality.
She identified key aspects of her personality that clarified who she was and by extension who she was as a photographer and artist. She began focusing on these characteristics in her photography and eliminated aspects that didn't fit with her personalty. Claire made it a point to target her energies towards the photographs that would best highlight her style.
This exercise spoke so deeply to me that I tried it myself and wrote about the results in my article Personality-Inflused Photos.
The topics in this book range widely from tapping into the unconsciousness through dreams, to becoming confident, to coping with depression, to the logistics of a photoshoot.
The book is easy to read and uses formatting in a creative way. The Attribute Pyramid (seen above) is presented in a graphical form and this idea of formatting is used throughout the book. At first it was a bit disorienting, but it did shake up my thought processes by breaking my physical habit of reading. There are photos and inspirational quotes throughout.
Throughout the book, Claire's photos highlight her process and you can share in her fantastical journey in creating the photos. At times she takes us through step-by-step from developing her mood board to the the actual photoshoot.
As the book continues, Claire gives us more information into the process she goes through to create an image. She isn't talking about the nuts-and-bolts of the technique or even the unique post-processing, she's talking about what's going on inside her head - the mind of an artist.
The final section of the book includes short interviews with six artists: Maggie Steber, Roger Ballen, Sara Lando, Gabriela Iancu, Robin Schwartz, and Eleanor MacNair.
This book gives valuable insight into how one artist works. It is as much about the art of photography as it is about the lifestyle of an artist.
Claire mentioned Julia Cameron's influential book The Artists Way which is more of a course on artistic development than just a book.
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Article Written by Jennifer Mishra
Jennifer Mishra is an American travel photographer born in Colorado and based in the St. Louis metro area. -- And she's a member of the St. Louis Women in Focus group. She has a background in classical music and academia. She is the founder of PhotoYoga. Her photos are published at Wits End Photography or follow her on Facebook or Instagram.
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