The Photographer’s Genie – What drives our Passion for Photography?

Green Genie
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Ted Talk

The main idea of the talk is to challenge modern ideas of Creative Genius, where we attribute the individual with Genius. This in turn leads to many artists becoming manic alcoholics and killing themselves early in life. Elizabeth refers back to the ideas of ancients who regarded artistic creativity as a consequence of the person being visited by some external spirit. This belief allows the artist some freedom from the creative responsibility of the modern artist under our current philosophy.


Landscape Spirits

I am wondering how this could relate to creativity in Photography? I used to write songs and remember thinking about how I felt the songs hadn’t come from inside of me but from some external source. Like I had merely tuned in to a waveband or frequency.  It was similar to the poet’s extraction of poems from the ether. So now after some creative success, I am wondering how many sunsets, icicles, auroras and rainbows have been motivated in some part by this external artistic Genie.

Is this the Genie at work? Shaping auroras because it knows I have my camera and I am quite handy with it. The Genie knows that I post online, so this was a great opportunity to “Get out there” (some 6,000,000 views on flickr later).  I certainly believe that the natural landscape is alive and is capable of communicating with us at a level we don’t understand or are not conscious of.

Genie Within

Or is it a genie within my physical form.  Tweaking my DNA and putting thoughts into my head to go out with my camera (or not).  Society also manipulates us in way below our conscious thresholds.  We are almost in a state of hypnotism when we are immersed in the affairs of society.  Or maybe it is a bit of all three.  The spirit of society acts on the ghosts of the soul amidst the electromagnetic flux of the natural landscape.  Recognising that there are many many aspects of nature guiding you in all sorts of direction below the level of your consciousness is a step away from the delusional egos that we are so likely to become.




Magic Cloth & Northern Lights
photographing the aurora

The main requirement for using the Magic Cloth Technique is having a long exposure, so Northern Lights photography is an obvious choice.

Suburban Northern Lights
Reykjavik suburbs Northern Lights

I advise photographers to get out of the city and away from the city lights to get the best northern lights photographs….