How to prepare & collaborate with Ashley Thalman

[Photo by Ashley Thalman]

The rituals primitive people practiced to prepare for hunts and war were believed to complete the "hard part" of the upcoming event. The fire, the chanting, the hallucinations, the focus, the unity and vision all took place before the actual act. What does this mean for our modern creative pursuits? It means that Pinterest time does not equal work, that comparing ourselves to others in our industry does not enlighten or deliver originality. It means that you should not simply "show up" for a shoot because you know how to use a camera any more than an architect can draw plans for a home of which he does not know the location. To create real original products for ourselves and our clients requires collaboration and preparation. I am new to this idea but every time I have applied it I have been rewarded handsomely. 
Below are three tips I have found valuable. 

1. Work for creation As creative professionals we are constantly concerned with appointments and projects, deadlines and checks that we often forget that our work is creative. So create. Create for the joy of creation. Hire a sitter, buy the gas, get the subject and supplies and do it. Spend twice the time brainstorming that you do shooting. It is amazing how nourishing one project idea leads to more ideas- it's magic! Personal project ideas are divine gifts for those of us who want them. Don't squander them. 

2. Look & Listen Listen to yourself and listen to your client. Look at them. Look at the light. We create visual works and everyone has different eyes. Slow down and look at the location. Turn around. Listen to your own hesitancy and don't be loyal to a concept now that would be better used later. Don't worry about what other people think "looks" or "sounds" good. Worry about your client, worry about your muse. Want the best for them. Be willing to inform them on your trade, on you, on the value of your work. Do not be offended by misunderstandings or misinformations about your trade. Just listen. Your client might have some fantastic ideas, music, the weather, and a good book might be a well-spring of project ideas, your grandmother might be on to something. Listen. 

3. Write The night before a portrait session I sit and write. I write ideas and concepts, to-do lists and locations. These ideas have been swimming for a few days at this point and now its time to enter a ritual and make them real. This is where the inventory of ideas is explored. This is where you get to be completely focused on what you like, what you want to see and what you want to be. It's where you edit and see what's important. You prioritize and organize your creative stores. Look at your old work and look at what truly moves and inspires you. Resolve to shoot what you see and not what is simply popular or attractive. 

Many thanks to Michelle here at Twig for being so generous and including me here!

>>>[Welcome to the second installment of a new series here on the twig blog, how-to tips from artists who are authentic, real, and inventive. Each month a few of our favorites will spill their secrets and skills to help you in your creative path. We're excited to learn a few things ourselves. Come soak it up and share the love.]


Ana Degenaar :

I am sharing this right now! So wonderful! Thank you both for sharing.


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