This is my fifth in a series of blog posts about creative people or creative works that inspire me to follow my passion in photography and living a creative life. As I find myself more committed to writing, photographing, and living a creative existence I thought I might introduce a photographer who inspired me before I even began photographing in earnest: Dewitt Jones.
Dewitt Jones is a photographer who has made a living making pictures and has spent a lot of time on assignment for National Geographic Magazine. Because National Geographic does not seem to hire hack photographers I imagine Dewitt is quite accomplished photographically. But, oddly enough, it is not his images that have inspired me: It’s his approach.
You see, I was first made aware of Dewitt during a graduate course in counseling psychology when we watched a DVD video of Dewitt doing his “other” job: motivational speaking. He has taken what he’s learned from photography, what it takes to make good images, and has distilled it to several key points in an effort to help people maintain the motivation to carry out their goals. I liked it so much I took good notes, begged my wife to buy the video for me for my birthday, and have written the steps into the notebook I carry in my camera bag.
Dewitt expounds on these points and uses them and his photographic imagery to encourage his viewers in their lives and business, but I particularly like how these points apply to the pursuit of photography.
The points are following, but I will not do them justice here in written form. I suggest you visit Dewitt’s web page and view clips from two of his popular motivational DVD’s “Extraordinary Visions” and “Clear Visions.”
- Focus Your Vision: celebrate what is right with the world.
- Train Your Technique.
- Put Yourself In The Place Of Most Potential.
- Truly Be Open To The Possibilities: What will I be given today and will I be open to receive it?
- Continuously Find The Next Right Answer.
As a person in continuous search for images, photographs, stories, emotions, memories, and keepsakes, I am also in continuous search of better abilities with which to communicate. Dewitt Jones does not provide me with the technical “how” of photography, but instead provides a road-map that will help guide my quest. Dewitt has walked and experienced this process many more numerous times than I, and I can learn and be inspired by his suggestions. And while we can, and often do, focus on perfecting our technique, it might perhaps be more advantageous to focus instead, as Dewitt suggests, on our frame of mind in the creation of our art.
Note: The image above is the old adobe church in Golden, New Mexico, on the Turquoise Trail. I took it in the wee hours of the morning a couple of months ago. I just love going out to shoot in the dark and waiting for the beginnings of light. It feels a little scary to me at times to be out in the dark but it is also exhilarating to feel like I am one of the few awake at 4 in the morning. I also find it quite exiting to wonder about the images I will return home with as the sun climbs higher in the sky and becomes less conducive to photography, particularly here in the desert. I have more ideas for this church so stay tuned as I search for the next right answer and celebrate what is right with the world.