The Crested Pigeon
How original are our creations? At times I feel that to call ourselves creators seemed a little far-fetched. Human beings are not really creators, we are just really good “transmuters”. What that means is that we are really good at figuring out how things work and changing them into something else. We can figure out how a seed can sprout into a tree under certain circumstances but we cannot create the seed from nothing. In other words, we cannot create life, we cannot create another human being and yet we can make robots. The shell might look the same but we know deep down that it is devoid of the source of life.
I used to do illustrations and concept art. During that time I have always felt I was creating something out of nothing and that makes them original. When I was studying art, there is so much emphasis on anatomy and observing the things around you. To make something believable, you would have to first know the functions and designs of your original point of reference. You can always draw something so out of whack that comes from the deepest depth of your imagination, but it won’t have great appeal and impact because it looks fake. A creature with a huge and muscular torso and feeble legs will just topple over and couldn’t walk an inch in reality.
A great artist knows how things work and is able to transmute that reality into something that comes from his imagination, and yet it still looks believable. In essence, he is still copying reality and transforming it into something fresh.
In creative pursuits, photography is sort of like a shortcut. It doesn’t aim to recreate reality, it just takes a piece of reality and transform it. The photographer chooses a slice of reality in the present moment base on his composition. There are so many things happening in each moment. Does the photographer want to portray the love of a kissing couple? Or that beautiful sunset behind them? What about the ever-changing formation of the clouds or that seagull which happens to soar across the ocean? He takes that frame and transform it into something magical and hopefully it will penetrate and touch the heart of another. He or she then becomes the transmuter.
We all share this reality we call life because we are all a part of it. Whatever we think we create are just part of this reality. It is like the saying that if life gives you lemon, you make lemonade. Maybe this is what I love about photography, there is no need to recreate the perfection that already is.
All it takes if having the heart and the eyes to see this perfection.