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The Secrets of the Masters

15 Jan 2018

The Secrets of the Masters

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Hello everyone!

Today we are going to discover the secrets of the ‘pros’ to create the images of your dreams.

I’m Eva Polak – artist, photographer, teacher, and author of three books:

Today I’m going to share with you one simple step you can take to create your deepest work as an artist. I’ve found this one step makes all the difference in being able to create authentic and ‘alive’ images – uniquely yours.

Are you ready?

Remove any distractions. Get comfortable and let’s get started.
I have been an impressionist and abstract photographer for more than ten years now.

When I first discovered impressionist photography I became fascinated by this art form. For me, abstract art seems to be the most unique type of personal expression, and it mirrors the inner world of the artist. It seems authentic, alive and true. I admire the work of abstract painters and photographers.  So, I became very excited and I wanted to create images like theirs. I wanted to be able to use shapes, colours, patterns and light to create something inspiring. I wanted my images to be expressive and I wanted to give life to my work.

But I had a problem.

I was stuck in a place trying to recreate what I was seeing. Ultimately I felt I was just trying to copy others and I felt that was never really me or my own voice and vision being expressed.
We all go through this kind of circle as artists. When you feel inspired by others’ work you are trying to recreate something ‘like that’, but ultimately you start to feel that you only create copies and the work becomes boring – because you want to create and share the work that is uniquely yours. You want to feel like a real artist whose work comes from your heart.

The problem is that you want to create a work that comes from you, but the challenge is that you are not sure how to make that shift or even where to start. Today I’m going to share with you a secret which is a foundation piece, threading its way through all my work – with my students, and in my online courses and workshops.

By the end of this training you will know and understand the secret to expressing YOURSELF in your art. We will talk about how that looks like and I will share with you how to do that. I discovered these secrets many years ago when I started my journey with impressionist photography.

Let me share my story with you.

It all started in December 2004 when my husband gave me a small digital camera for Christmas. I was spending most of my free time with my camera, always taking photographs, reading about photography or planning my next photo shoot. I was enjoying myself immensely and I even entered a few local competitions with some success. After a year or so, I felt that I was ready for my first SLR camera. I wanted to have more control and be able to experiment with shutter speed and aperture. I also started to attend photography workshops and presentations. I was having fun experimenting with different types of photography, slowly buying new lenses and other equipment.
By the year 2007 I was a pretty competent photographer. On one hand I was enjoying making images, but I also felt trapped and increasingly frustrated with all the “rules” of traditional photography. Around that time, I came across an advert for a workshop at the Auckland University, The Art of Impressionist Photography. I knew instinctively that this was something that I wanted to be doing.
As I was experimenting with impressionist photography I very quickly realised that there are certain looks and effects that I’m attracted to. I started to study my own work, trying to really pin down my likes and dislikes. Soon I was using this process in my work to open up experimentation. I very quickly learned that what starts as ‘What if?’ could become an image that I love. I believe that you have your own likes and aesthetic preferences that make you unique, unlike anyone else in the world. These preferences will always appear through all your work.

This was the first step to the secret.

I knew that I needed this inner shift to help me open up and allow playfulness, searching and finding my own way as I was creating images. Exploration and experimentation, photographing what you love; allow yourself to step into a place where you don’t know that your photo shoot will lead you to a sense of wonder and magic. Ultimately you will surprise and delight yourself with your art.

What is the secret? What is this inner self?

The secret is trusting yourself. This is where the most alive and the most wondrous art comes from, and this is the secret to create your most personal and authentic images.

So what does trusting yourself looks like?

It’s giving yourself permission to play, explore and experiment. It is allowing yourself not to know where the photo shoot will lead you. It is trusting your subconscious and your intuition. It is letting you express with your images whatever is coming through you. It is believing that you can search and find your way as you photograph. And that your work, your voice or vision matters.

I very often take my camera for a walk. I have no expectation and I allow myself to create bad images. I find this concept of taking my camera for a walk to be tremendously liberating, because one of the biggest fears for us is that our images will be bad, that no one will like them. To say it is OK to create bad images will give you tremendous freedom.

What I learned through all my exploration was that many times those bad images are often the beginning of something trying to emerge in my photography. Sometimes a few weeks, months or even years later the images I hated, the ones I thought were bad, the ones I wanted to delete, turned out to be the ones that I love or that I want to explore even more. Whether you ultimately love or hate these images let them be, because these bad images are absolutely essential to your growth as an artist, and they might hold a key to your next work. They are so important. They are even more important than the images that you immediately love.

This gives me tremendous freedom. By cultivating an attitude of exploration and experimentation, you can grow as an artist and photographer. That’s where the surprises are. That is creativity. The important thing as an artist is to evolve, create and grow in your work. The other way to grow your ability to trust yourself when you photograph is to explore your mindset, your inner dialogue.

One of the most important things is noticing what you are saying to yourself as you create your images. If you notice a lot of negative thoughts you need to decide what you want to say to yourself instead. For example, you may say these kinds of things to yourself:
I don’t know what I’m doing
I don’t know how or what to photograph
I’m repeating myself
I’m stuck

Now replace these with a mindset shift. As you go on a photo shoot you can say to yourself
Just start!
Let’s experiment!
Express yourself!
And continue to remind yourself that you are just experimenting.

What is your next step?

if you decide to join my online workshop The Visual Language of Abstract Photography

Each week you will receive a lesson with learning materials as well as an assignment to help you stay on track and guide you on your journey. Every week you will learn a new concept of visual language, reflect upon it through your photo shoots, create images for your assignment and receive evaluation of your work with comments and advice for improvement. You will have plenty of material to work with.

As I see it you have two choices. You can keep doing what you are doing; you can stay with the status quo and feel frustrated, perhaps procrastinate and become bored with your photography.
Or, you can join me and open up possibilities to finally explore and express yourself.

Register now and start your journey to expressive abstract photography that is uniquely yours.

I will be there to walk with you every step of the way.

I look forward to seeing you in The Visual Language of Abstract Photography.