The challenge of visualisation
How important do you think visualisation is for one’s artistic work?
I read in several articles that visualisation is vital to art and I thought about it many times. In dictionaries, visualisation is defined as “the act of forming a picture of somebody or something in your mind”. Does that mean that to create art you need to be able to imagine the picture of what you want to achieve? The final result?
I believe there are painters who look at an empty canvas and see a masterpiece. I believe there are photographers who look at a model and see an artistic portrait. I believe there are sculptors who look at scrap metal or a piece of wood and see a sculpture. But what the rest of us, are we out of the game?
I think so and I think not and I will explain what makes me feel this way.
I believe that visualisation is a powerful tool and people who are gifted with it will always be a step (or a league) before the others. Visualisation gives wings to ideas and plans. Visualisation helps one to be better prepared, to have the necessary equipment and knowledge at hand.
I believe that to some degree, the skill of visualisation can be acquired by experience and practice; the more you know, the more you can imagine.
Also, you may not see the whole picture right away but you can get some promising ideas, you can see something in the scene that you can’t define right away but that makes you focus on possibilities, you can feel something you want to express so you start experimenting… and the process of creating takes you to a result that grew from that little seed of perception.
I am no artist but trying to be a better photographer puts all these thoughts into my way. In my photography efforts, most of the times I do not see the final image beforehand, just something that triggers my attention.
Let’s have a look at the opening image in this post. I didn’t see that result when I was looking at the scene. My hubby and I were in Pilsen, looking for some geometry for our photo project and on our way back to the car we were crossing a foot bridge over the river next to that bigger bridge. The foot bridge was narrow and moving with every step, the light was already fading and we were tired and ready to go home but something in the scene made me ask my hubby to stay for a while so that I could have a look through my camera and take a photo or two.
Here is the RAW photo of the opening image, straight out of the camera:
It’s RAW so the photo is not sharpened, has little contrast and the colours are a bit off. Overall, the photo doesn’t look much appealing. But I learned not to underestimate the RAW format, so I started to adjust lights and shadows and contrast and all that stuff that needs to be done and I got this result:
Much better, don’t you think, but in my opinion it was too HDR looking which I wasn’t aiming for so I decided to go a step further and sent the image to Nik plug-in. With the help of its presets and settings I created the opening image and that was the final image for me. I don’t know how about you, but I love it.
And here we are back at the visualisation issue. I was not able to visualise a result like that beforehand but I saw/felt/perceived certain potential in the scene that made me stop and eventually lead me to the result. In other words, I may never be able to fly but I can see the world from a few inches higher if I try… and that is something to be grateful for.