I always work from inspiration.
Roy Henry Vickers
As a photographer, every trip is an opportunity. Before I travel, like many, I research my destination ahead of time. I consider the season, I look at the weather, I even do a pinterest and google image search to get a sense of what I might find upon arrival. In other words, like a good girl scout - I plan. But lately, I have discovered that no amount of planning can replace the simple act of immersing yourself in a place.
My recent trip to Tofino BC was planned specifically. November is the start of storm season in that part of the world. As I boarded the plane heading west, my mind was filled with all of the beautiful and dramatic images of stormy beach fronts and misty forests that I would make. We arrived to glorious sunshine and for the first few days I found myself strangely reluctant to pick up my camera. The moody images I had envisioned were nowhere to be found… so I suppose in a way, I was waiting. Until finally one beautiful afternoon we went for a walk on the beach and I decided to take my camera just in case the weather should turn (it sounds absurd to me now but that’s truly where my mind was). Luckily as we walked I began to immerse myself in what was happening on the beach and started to see the beauty all around me. I stopped looking for the images I had created in my mind and I started to SEE what was there.
Thank goodness. For I honestly believe these images not only tell the story of what it is like to experience a beautiful November day on Chesterman Beach in Tofino, but these are some of the most impactful images I have ever made.
They come from a place of inspiration. As Roy Henry Vickers (a wonderful local west coast artist with a stunning gallery in Tofino) points out, inspiration is derived from the latin word inspiratos - which means breath. When you breathe and immerse yourself, the spirit of a place comes into you and through you.
I still believe that planning is important and can yield some wonderful results. But immersion - the act of allowing yourself to remain open to what a place has to offer - for me never fails to result in inspired images.
David DuChemin (another west coast of Canada local) is known for his quip “gear is good, but vision is better.” If could borrow his format I would say “planning is good, but immersion is better.” For while planning might help you find beauty, immersion will inspire you see it surrounds you.
The next time you head out on a trip - be it to your backyard or further afield - give immersion a try. I'll wager you make some beautiful images as a result.