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Limitations activate the creative mind. They require that you ask, How can I make the best of what I have? In your own photographic journey, you’ll have to decide what tools and techniques work best. You can limit your own path and pursue the technical approach that fits who you are.

I once read a poem titled “The White Museum” that helped me decide my way. The poem, by George Bilgere, is sad, beautiful, and wonderful to read; a reflection on the death of the Bilgere’s aunt. She was an organ donor and he refers to those who handled her case. Near the end of the poem he writes, “Do be respectful. Speak quietly. No flash photography. Tell your friends you saw something beautiful.”

As I read those lines, they made me think. The more I thought the more I considered the word “respect” and the phrase “No flash photography.” The poem made me wonder how well “flashless” photography could actually be done. And I’ve pursued this ever since. It doesn’t mean I can’t use a flash, but it makes me consider if there is another way. And maybe you like using lights and a flash—that’s perfectly OK. The point of creative photography is that we all get to choose our own way.

Arnold Newman’s words on this subject strike a chord. He said, “I don’t think any student, any photographer, any person should take pictures the way I take pictures. I build them because it’s the way I am.” When we try to be something that we’re not, we lose a bit of who we are. Of course it takes trying out different styles until we discover our own. So take that time and then chart an original course.

  • The point of creative photography is that we all get to choose our own way.
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