Photography, like other art forms, is about so much more than the finished product. It is about the independent life and spirit that the finished product evokes and the stories that it tells. I believe no photograph has ultimate meaning simply by virtue of its existence. It is in the process of being experienced by those who see it that a photograph develops meaning and value.
Fashioning a photograph that moves someone and has the meaning it deserves does not just happen. It is not as simple as picking up a camera and clicking a button. It starts long before that moment. The creative process mandates this must be so. This is because the work before the camera is in hand can impact the finished product more than anything else for, without it, there is no photograph.
So how does one stimulate this creative process? No doubt every photographer has his or her own ways. Over the years, I have found great benefit in giving myself a clear assignment.
By this I do not mean simply getting up and stating “Today I am going to take photographs of x, y or z”. Rather, I try in stepping back and clarifying the story that I want to tell. Whether my subject is life in a Marrakesh square, the waning seasons of Aspen, ancient stone churches of France, the life of a hurricane over an ocean or the evolution of a garden, I need a framework from which to work.
I must identify what feeling I want to communicate or evoke with my work. How do I want people to feel after seeing my photographs? What do I want people to learn or do as a result of seeing them? The answers to these questions, combined with a topic or subject, provide the foundation and stimulus needed to channel my creativity.
It is the perfect balance of certain direction and unrestricted artistry that keeps me focused and motivated yet open to the emotive power that is uniquely the creative process.
— Robert Rosenkranz