On the first day of teaching photography at University of West Bohemia’s ArtCamp, I always look over five photographs from each student and discuss them. We go over the basics of photographic creative decision making, and we hear from each photographer why it is that they created the samples they are showing. Why always precedes how. This exercise helps to set the framework for the week-long course. At this year’s class, on the very first day, within the first hour, came a lesson from a student that explains a lot more than her photography: it explains all creative expression.
When it came time for Taia to explain her five images, she began quietly and she struggled with her English. There is often a beautiful precision in word selection when someone chooses from a limited vocabulary. After she completed her presentation of ideas and thoughts that motivated the images on the desk, I said, “You used four words that are very important. What you said is for your photography, and all of our photography. They are for all of our creative expressions.”
In her descriptions, she used “magic,” “moment,” “connection,” and “understanding.” There is magic in the seeing, and in the sharing; life comprises moments to be seen, savored and shared; the courage to express connects us as people; and, in the sharing, comes understanding. Many great writers have tried to express in chapters and books what Taia addressed when explaining her work and why she created it.
Taia explained more than her photography, more than creative expression…she explained living. And that is the beauty of artistic endeavors.