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My Creative Pillars

Tim Layton 16x20 Ultra Large Format Camera With French Derogy 1856 Lens -

# 1 – Meditation clears distractions that can get in the way of my creative force

Before I start a creative session, I meditate for five full minutes to try and quiet my mind. I set an alarm so I am not distracted by worrying about the time.

# 2 – Be decisive about what I like and don’t like and lead with feeling and emotion

I should always lead with my feelings and trust my gut, especially my first reactions to every part of my creative process.

#3 – Do not try and achieve “success”

I create artwork as a vehicle to express myself. How people respond to my artwork no longer takes up space in my thoughts.

#4 – Be a “reducer” vs. a producer

I focus on simplifying the visual elements of my photography to its simplest form to help communicate the story and meaning of my artwork.

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#5 – The feeling of familiarity is a good feeling

While I may be photographing familiar subjects like flowers, I have the opportunity to create something that people have never seen before because my artwork has a deeper meaning that is unique to me and the way that I see the world.

Nelson's Gold Toner - Wet Plate Collodion Negative - Ilford Warmtone Semi-Matt Contact Silver Gelatin Print - © Tim Layton, All Rights Reserved, 2023 -

#6 – Observe feelings vs. visual elements

I have started taking a break while composing on the ground glass of my large and ultra large format cameras.

After working on the composition for a bit, I close my eyes, take several deep breaths, and try to quiet my mind. When I am ready, I open my eyes again and observe my feelings about what I see vs. focusing on the visual elements. I may do this routine only once, or I may do it many times until I like what I “feel.”

#7 – Never try to “sell” anything

I create because it brings me joy, and allows me to express myself in a way that is not possible with words.

I never think about the commercial success or failure of my artwork.

#8 – The audience comes last…

I never think about what my audience or viewers want or what they may like or dislike. This is a destructive path that only leads to failure.

I tap into my feelings and this allows me to encourage people to lean forward and pay attention.

I am purposely simplifying my compositions to help distill my message down to its elemental form. Those tuned in to my message queues will lean forward and pay attention, and everyone else will miss it.

Become a member of my Darkroom Diary today and take your analog photography to new levels.

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