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“The creative mind plays with the objects it loves.”

August 8, 2011

Thank you for all the interesting conversations after last week’s column and for the comments, including the obvious one, about the f-word.

I would like to clarify a couple of things. One, I was not proposing any kind of prior restraint on the use of spoken language. It’s your choice how best to express yourself, or better yet, how best to communicate.

The f-word may seem to express how you feel, but does it actually communicate how you feel to a listening public? I’m assuming, of course, you wish to be understood. The f-word is usually the bluntest tool, but if it’s all you’ve got, I guess you use it.

Two, I was not proposing prior restraint on written language. The filter that Christian publishing houses provide appeals to some people, but I was not advocating a wholesale shift in this direction.

For years, the action of that filter left the fiction equivalent of low-cal beer or low-fat ice cream, although I’m sure the market has matured over the last couple of decades.

I would be happy if you took away from my reflections on the f-word a conviction to use it only in a thoughtful and elegant way.

Let’s move on to f-stops.

During my lifetime, the Kodak moment has evolved into a documentary urge that is almost devoid of discrimination. With smart phones that take digital pictures and send instant txt msgs, a moment doesn’t pass that isn’t being recorded.

I don’t know what we’ll do with that record. We’ll have to filter it somehow for nuggets, or like Google, for marketing information. Will every aspect of our lives be commercialized?

One handy thing, though, is that everyone becomes a news photographer. I got to see last week’s funnel cloud shortly after it appeared because a staff member received a wonderful photo on her phone from a friend. We squinted at the little screen, crowding around like tourists reviewing the moment just passed.

Good image-making technology is now in the palm of your hand. What to do with it? Perhaps we can help a little.

Mark your calendars now for Sunday, August 28, at 3:00 p.m. We will have an Arts at the Library presentation by photographers Carol Cartwright and John Vidulich. Two presentations, in fact.

Their show of photographs at the library will be up through August, so you’ll be able to see their work as well as how they did it.

John will show “how to manipulate images as transformations, polar coordinates, and distortions.” Not knowing Adobe Photoshop, I can only guess at what this means. He will take an original image and give explicit instructions how to perform those manipulations.

Carol will show various traditional images and talk about elements of composition and how creativity is motivated through the play instinct, which, if you have it, must be tickled pink by Photoshop.

As Carl Jung says on Carol’s website: “The creation of something new is not accomplished by the intellect but by the play instinct acting from inner necessity. The creative mind plays with the objects it loves.”


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