One of the first things we ever do is experiment. We interact with our environment through touch and taste. As babies we reach out uncertainly, then we start to grasp, then we put things in our mouth. Months are spent learning to move, interpreting our senses, fine tuning our motor control. As we get older we experiment through play, having fun.
Older still and the slippery slope begins. Our experimentation becomes directed by someone else. That’s OK at first, but then time constraints mean only certain things can take up this precious commodity and we have to stop investigating some things.
By the end of school the curriculum is God and our boundaries narrower and narrower. When we step out of line we are castigated and told to focus. When with our peers, we can often get put off experimenting if we are seen to be foolish. If something goes wrong we may be laughed at.
Add work, family, and other commitments and we simply don’t have the time.
In any creative endeavour that can be a massive mistake. Why? Because if all your learning is done following step by step tutorials, you will get the same results as everybody else.
So, yes, by all means use as much information as possible to learn your craft. But to master it you need to find time to experiment. You need to get back to doing one thing that truly makes us human. You need to play.
At first it will seem very odd. It can often seem to be very frustrating. But you will learn. Ideas will spark, slowly at first, but the more you do it, the easier it becomes.
The photograph above is an experiment with overlay in photoshop. Now I am a complete novice at photoshop. I had done the straight forward stuff like cropping, exposure, contrast and saturation, but until this week I didn’t even know how to get 2 pictures in the same document or change the properties of just part of a picture. Yes, that much of a novice.
It doesn’t matter if you like the results or not, save them. You’ve learned something new and there may be an effect there that is perfect for another day.
Here’s to creativity and inspiration,