New visual-inspiration file

As I wrote yesterday, I came home from our Marin jaunt thinking that I should do more with the photos I take on such expeditions. More and more as I travel, I find myself wanting to capture the feel and details of a place; usually this manifests itself in lengthy journal entries, but I need a better visual record of my experiences. Actually I’ve taken these kinds of photos for years now, but I tend not to do anything with them, and that’s a shame.

From "White on blue: sky"

From "White on blue: sky" (current set size: 27 photos)

So I created a new collection on flickr which I am calling Visual Inspiration. At the moment the collection contains sixteen themed photo sets, ranging from “White on blue: sky” to “Colors, textures, forms: manmade” to “Fur and form: mammals.” I pulled some of these photos from my existing flickr sets, but others I uploaded from my archive of years past. Some of the pics were selected because they’re good reference, but mostly I chose ones that evoke something in me, some feeling or memory. (For this reason, these photos would make excellent writing prompts, at least they would for me!) The “Landscapes, cityscapes, structures” set works particularly well in this regard; I might use these photos in future when trying to draw the settings of my dreams.

From "Landscapes, cityscapes, structures"

From "Landscapes, cityscapes, structures" (current set size: 120 photos)

Organizing these photos helps me figure out my visual vocabulary (what catches my eye and my fancy?) — and what’s missing from my documentation of it (I have no pics of fabric textures, for instance, or fancy cakes!). I believe, too, that organizing can be a generative act in its own right, that in some sense creation is nothing more than the original rearrangement of existing objects (“Discovery is seeing what everyone else has seen and thinking something no one else has thought.” Albert Szent-Györgyi). It feels very right that I have this collection in place now, and I’m looking forward to working with it and building on it in future.

From "Colors, textures: coastal"

From "Colors, textures: coastal" (current set size: 91 photos)

I’m also thinking that this collection has the potential for creative collaboration, either in the form of something like the writing prompts, or… ? I don’t know. At the moment I have it set up as “all rights reserved” rather than licensed for sharing via Creative Commons; I might change that. If you have any thoughts on this, I’d love to hear them.

I’ve linked to three sets in the photos above; here are representatives from the other thirteen:

From "Blue on blue: ocean"

From "Blue on blue: ocean" (current set size: 12 photos)

From "Colors, textures: mountains"

From "Colors, textures: mountains" (current set size: 33 photos)

From "Colors, textures: forest"

From "Colors, textures: forest" (current set size: 90 photos)

From "Colors, textures: flatlands, scrub, chaparral"

From "Colors, textures: flatlands, scrub, chaparral" (current set size: 10 photos)

From "Colors, textures: marsh"

From "Colors, textures: marsh" (current set size: 9 photos)

From "Colors, textures: agriculture"

From "Colors, textures: agriculture" (current set size: 4 photos)

From "Colors, textures: garden"

From "Colors, textures: garden" (current set size: 79 photos)

From "Colors, textures, forms: manmade"

From "Colors, textures, forms: manmade" (current set size: 43 photos)

From "Fur and form: mammals"

From "Fur and form: mammals" (current set size: 23 photos)

From "Feathers and form: birds"

From "Feathers and form: birds" (current set size: 22 photos)

From "Life aquatic"

From "Life aquatic" (current set size: 2 photos)

From "Insects"

From "Insects" (current set size: 10 photos)

From "Elements"

From "Elements" (current set size: 12 photos)

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