Freeing my intuition…

Practicalities, gear and film choices, project planning and business expectations were filling my mind and I could not hear my artistic heart anymore.
Had it stopped beating?

I thought that planning projects was expected. I thought it was sufficient to let my intuition choose the lens of the day or the film for tomorrow.
When had I started to worry more about the ‘right’ choice of gear than expressing myself in my images.
When had I become afraid that I could only make interesting work with vintage lenses on an 8×10 camera?

I had buried my creative intuition under technical and practical considerations.
I had allowed my free spirit to be put in chains by my perceived expectations of the world around me.
The sheer immensity of possibilities and choices was not just clouding my vision, it was blinding me.
Should I go 8×10 or even larger, how about wetplate collodion, maybe some Polaroid work or what about this special lens or…?

But what is it that I really want? What does make MY heart sing?

Is it still what I said in myΒ presentation at the Connected exhibition in April this year?

I do not want to be limited to a certain genre or style of photography but instead see my vision as the constant and connecting element between my images. I want my work to be personal.

Yes and no. While I still want my work to be personal and still see my vision (or better my way of seeing the world) as the connecting element, I had come to a point on my journey where I felt that I was actually limiting myself (my artistic expression)Β by having too many choices (yes, you read that correctly πŸ˜‰ ).

So for the next part of this journey I will limit at least my ‘technical’ choices to free my mind from those decisions and thus allow my intuition to take over and create again – minimal gear and just the right tools for maximum intuitive creativity.

I want toΒ focus on expressing the way I see and feel the world around me and inside of me and not on the choice of film.
I want to more deeply explore what lies BEYOND – the gateways between reality and fantasy, the SUB-realilty and not the technical or even artistic possibilities of a certain lens.
I want to experiment more with techniques in camera and in the darkroom (digital or physical) where the outcome is flexible and not (always) predictable or ‘fulfilling expectations’.
I want to create individual, individualistic and as often as possible tangible pieces of art.

How am I going to do all that…you will find out if and when you follow me on my journey. I made my choices, I packed the bag – let’s move on, following my intuition… πŸ™‚

As always, I would love to hear what you think? Do you feel that too much choice can be limiting? What do you think about changing your vision – or should a vision be constant? What are you focussing on creatively?


  1. Matt Parry on October 23, 2018 at 20:00

    I see nd hear ideas about limitations now and again in artistic ventures. Definitly get that idea. I get overwhelmed with too much choice on top of that. The idea reminds me of an aphorism by Nietzsche:

    Bound heart, free spirit. – When one binds one’s heart firmly and keeps it imprisoned, one can provide one’s spirit many freedoms: I have said that already once. But people do not believe me, provided that they do not already know it. . . .

    Love the idea and look forward as always to what you create!

    • Isabel on October 23, 2018 at 20:39

      I have always struggled when I had too much choice – starts with going into the supermarket, via photography gear to… πŸ˜€
      For most areas of my life – actually photography gear was the last one – I have already gone minimal very successfully so in a way I should have expected that this would have to happen. Better late than never and maybe we have to experience this transition to be sure about our decisions… Just thinking πŸ™‚

      I am a big fan of Nietzsche and I can definitely see how one could intrepret his words in a similar way.
      Mmmmhhh…maybe I can turn some of my favourite Nietzsche quotes into images… πŸ™‚

      I am very glad that you are joining me on my journey, Matt πŸ™‚

  2. John on October 23, 2018 at 20:55

    I can’t wait to see how you will express with your new works πŸ™‚ … I am excited πŸ™‚ !
    John πŸ™‚

    • Isabel on October 23, 2018 at 21:00

      Oh…expectations πŸ˜‰ It will not be completely new but in a way going back to my favourite projects and exploring those ideas more deeply πŸ™‚

  3. John on October 23, 2018 at 22:44

    I am very much looking forward to it πŸ™‚
    No expectations πŸ˜‰

  4. joe monteiro on October 24, 2018 at 03:11

    WHAT!!! so i’m being a PITA again but ” minimal gear and just the right tools for maximum intuitive creativity” are at odds choose one or the other. And if you have digital (camera) throw that crutch away it puts you at the mercy of the designer unless you have huge funding for something big time. i wouldn’t even rule out a point and shoot but that’s pretty minimal. For me 35 mm is ok, mf gives a quality image because of it’s size and lf forces you to see and think.
    Continuing to look forward to more good works

    • Isabel on October 24, 2018 at 08:01

      πŸ™‚ I will focus mainly on my 4×5 and actually my phone – was surprised about that decision myself πŸ˜‰ but those are just the best tools for what I want to do. The bag is literally packed so let’s see… πŸ™‚
      All the best!

  5. joe on October 25, 2018 at 05:11

    i feel better now.

  6. Toby Van de Velde on November 13, 2018 at 14:21

    I agree on limiting your gear choices to let yourself concentrate on working, not dithering about deciding what to shoot next.
    I am consistently taking less and less gear with me when I do go out on a shoot – that is a conscious decision I have made.
    One camera, one lens. Be that 35mm or 120. I don’t have a ‘proper’ LF camera, but I have made several LF pinhole cameras, and that’s the only time I will take multiples out with me – when shooting with ‘One Shot’ kit.
    And to voice a heresy – I will often take my IR converted DSLR and one lens when I am on a day out or holiday and nothing else. Phone excepted.

    • Isabel on November 13, 2018 at 14:37

      Sounds perfect to me and I really like how this (esp. the handmade pinholes) make your work unique.
      I have downsized to only one lens for each of my 3 film cameras (120, 4×5 amd 8×10) as I never really enjoyed changing lenses anyway. I like this limitation a lot also because I can walk around and compose much more easily. Apart from that I am keeping only my phone and maybe one small digital camera. I feel liberated and my focus has really shifted from taking the image to exploring various ways to print and create things like books or photobxes :-). I also am in no way a purist so really like to mix analog and digital all the way – whichever works best πŸ˜€

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