Photo session 1- wrestling a stick insect!
April 26, 2011, 12:08 am
Filed under: Creative Project


It never seems to workout how you want does it? I discovered with starting this series that I spent a huge amount of time trying to edit more than anything my choice of objects. Making sure that both purchased and gifted objects were in the shoot. Then setting up was a bit tricky as the board I got was the wrong size (back to the art shop) then the light source kept heating up (scolding fingers are now my chance to suffer for my art!) and finally the tripod and room size made manoeuvering somewhat challenging and this is before a single frame was taken.

But as they say ‘soldier on’ and so finally I managed to get started. I knew the creative process has moments of clarity and speed of ideas and success in getting the image, however I found it creatively fruitful but practically slow, snails pace actually. But undeterred I thought better to move slow and ruminate about the objects some more and question their choice. Are they the right objects? Do they make for interesting subjects and create a visual dialogue? Should I start far away with an all-encompassing view or crop close to make the objects difficult to make out? Will doing the latter frustrate or excite the viewer? More thinking rearranging of the objects and finally just start Franco and get into a creative flow!

Once it did start to flow creatively I had to slow down and look at my placement and get the visual dialogue happening. Each time tightening the image to some subconscious idea I must have had to put these items together to begin with. Then I thought about the book in the image, how I choose that for certain reasons and thought that would be a good linking visual throughout the consecutive photo sessions. So will see if that holds up.

By the half way point I was really enjoying myself even if the heat of the light source was uncomfortable and the camera and tripod was like wrestling with a stick insect. As the moving of light source and objects continued I was clarifying my ideas and resolving to look forward to the next session.

The light was doing wonderful things to the glass and beads and the image on the book cover was so rich in visual clues and colour rendering so vivid through the lens in certain light.

Now that it’s over I feel elated and creatively fulfilled but mentally drained as creative process decisions can do that to a person. I will show the slideshow in the sequence of how I shot the images so you can follow my creative flow. I think it would be good to continue to to do this with subsequent photo sessions.  All that’s left is to show the end of session 1 and wrestle with the dashboard and media to get them up on my blog, wish me luck.

image 12

image 12

The image I selected. View the images below and see if you agree. Feel free to send a comment.


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The practicality and nitty gritty
April 24, 2011, 1:22 am
Filed under: Creative Project


Before my creative project gets under way I believe the practicality of photographing  my project and some decisions and limits need to be set. The nitty-gritty of the photographic set up and some loose ideas are noted below on my working ideas page. 

photographic setup
photographic setup

Through a quick sketch I managed to work out how the photography was going to best serve my aims of a cohesive series of images. I thought that by limiting the area the photos would be taken in (and not in situ in the house) in one room, setup like a studio environment would achieve certain results. First the images have a chance to be explored photographically ( their shape, line, texture) using a single light source to simplify the image viewed. Secondly by removing it from one area in the house and putting the objects on a black backdrop, this would create some ambiguity to the image and objectivity to the viewer. I want the viewer to create their own conclusions of the image through the objects placement and lighting and angle, to be rid of the periphery of surrounding personal space.

The objects themselves will be selected on my ideas as they develop. This will occur before the shoot so I can focus on the objects themselves when photographing them. I have decided to photograph between  four and six objects to give clarity to the image and not clutter the image with random objects. This will provide an opportunity for the viewer to make visual connections either consciously or subconsciously.
When presenting the images in the blog I will select one image I feel best conveys my creative process. This is always going to be a subjective choice the viewer may not agree with, so I will offer a slide show with a select series of photographs to allow the viewer to either agree or disagree with my choice. This will give them an opportunity to comment and create a dialogue with me and my creative selection process.
The images will be numbered only as titles tend to subjectively influence the viewer, something I am conscious not to do.There will be a series of six photo sessions in total using the setup mentioned above giving me a total of six final images with slide shows presented for each session as stated.
This project is about the process of creative thinking through creative theory learnt in the unit Creativity:theory, practice and history. My mini exegesis at the end of this process will show how  creative theory influenced my photographic project. Each session of photography will deal with the shoot itself and subsequent responses to the creative process.
The project is about creating a series of images through the creative process and  no conclusions are necessarily resolved. It’s about process and not the final image. Although it could be offered that the images could evolve into further exploration process mediums such as painting, drawing, collage etc. giving me the visual imagery to process further down my scholastic creative path and beyond.

Perculating idea
April 12, 2011, 8:21 am
Filed under: Creative Project

A photo of The Thinker by Rodin located at the...

Image via Wikipedia

I’ve thought for weeks about an idea for my creative project and have started percolating an idea which has finally formed. I will detail it in my mini exegesis but thought a quick reminder to self would help. Comments by the public is welcomed not that I will necessarily change it, but the response may get me thinking in another direction or possibly help to refine it.

Looking at creativity and its subjective nature got me ruminating on a project that would suit the idea of ambiguity which appeals to me in creative work and process. I want to create a work that would be ongoing in its development not static in creating a single finished piece be it drawing, painting, sculpture or the like. So I decided to create a series of photographs and writing about my influence in subject  choice .

There needs to be parameters set so I don’t simply fly of on a tangent, but keep the work cohesive and relevant to my ideas. Searching for subject choice provided me with a conundrum , what is the subject/s? How is it relevant to me and my creative process?

Sitting around me in my personal environment are objects both brought and gifted to me over the years. This makes for , I believe, an interesting analysis of the reasoning self and  aesthetics which appeal to me in surrounding myself with certain objects,it’s a libra thing apparently! But also what has been presented to me over the years by family and friends is their perception of me and my likes honed over years of discussion, listening and sometimes just giving in to an idea of what I may like,  admit it we all  have been given things we think what were they thinking?

So I propose to photograph the objects that surround me and flow through the creative process with making layered associations depending on what I choose to put together, object wise. This will hopefully make the viewer stop and question choices and meanings subjective to their own personal associations, if any, with the object/s collected and photographed.

Will it have religious overtones,creative ideology from the past or present, association of symbols, myths, or is it simply an object? You decide as I delve into my creative subconscious and see what it dregs up.

Erin, Jung – The ties that bind and flow
April 12, 2011, 8:20 am
Filed under: CCA1103

Erin Coates was a guest lecturer who spoke about her work in relation to creative ideology and ways in which she explores process, theory and practice. Erin  was a good choice as she was incredibly focused and able to articulate her artistic work which included drawing, sculpture, media and print. her approach to the visual arts is as she states with a ‘scientific mind’ in that she is thorough in her research, information gathering, and articulation of her ideas. It seems to me to reiterate what John Harman stated in his 5 rules of creativity(preparation, concentration, incubation, illumination and verification)which were demonstrated by Erin in presenting her folio of work.

The thought occurred to me that Erin’s way of creativity was a way i wished to emulate my visual praxis and the creativity unit I am currently studying is adding layers of understanding, by self-analysis of my work and its content and context through the exploration of creative theories.



Carl Jung- he gets me!

This in turn brings my focus to Carl Jung’s complex theory of the active imagination relative to my need to create. Pulling back the layers of complex theory and trying to see how this relates to me, I realised that the searching of why I create which was raised in my first blog seems to be dependant on not only contextual content but my subconscious and state of mind. Meaning that decisions made in the creative process such as subject and context are heavily influenced by my psychological state and therefore its outcome is dominated by my subconscious as much as my conscience thoughts. Why, what,(my emotive conscious and subconscious psyche) is just as important as how, when( analytical, technical process) when trying to balance my creative visual output.

The process of individuation and the maturing through stages of confrontation of the ‘shadow’ side and ‘anima’/’animus’ to reach  fulfillment in life and finding my ‘inner self’ all ring true in my quest to give voice to my creative urge. Am I solving my problems through pencil and paint? Why do I find dreams so detailed and rich in states of slumber? So much so that I can recall those that occurred in  the past vividly.Dreams seem to follow my waking thoughts frequently. I have subconsciously been drawn to books on symbolism and mythology and films dealing with themes of right and wrong, good v’s evil or just plain drama. I even resorted to asking others to try to interpret dreams and bought a book designed to interpret dreams. Incidently the book was using Carl Jung and his theories of dream analysis to interpret the dreams  based on symbolism of object and event.


Image by Austin Kleon via Flickr


 So Jung and his ideas fitted nicely with reasoning behind my creative urge,  whilst Erin Coates working praxis is my aim in aspiring to creative distilling of ideas.

Tying this all is the creative environment of flow and creativity which is the final piece in the creative jigsaw. Csikszentmihalyi‘s 9 aspects of flow showed how when I am really flowing creatively there seems to be certain environmental and mental processes occurring simultaneously. I just didn’t know that they were all aspects that were seamlessly occurring when I was creative. all the 9 aspects of flow from clear goals, action and awareness merged to sense of time becoming distorted have all occurred at some time in my artistic development. The ninth aspect of autotelic activity is definitely a conscious experience I strive for.It is the major theme tying the creative flow,  my passion and drive to enjoy my creativity. It is foremost  something I did for me and that others view of my choice of vocation and it’s hardships and financial struggle to stay in the field simply don’t matter. The secret to my happiness is understanding me, my drives and passions and choosing creativity as my expression and vocation gives me a sense of clarity and purpose. What more could you wish for?


Coates, E. (2011). Visual  Arts and Creativity. Lecture given at Edith Cowan University, Mt. Lawley campus. April 8th, 2011.

Csikszentmihalyi, M. (1996). The Flow of Creativity. Creativity: Flow and the psychology of discovery and invention (pp. 107-126). New York: HarperBusiness.

Harman, J. (2011) Personal Creative Process: John Harman.

Jung, C. (1997). Jung on active imagination (pp. 1-17, 28-33). (Ed. Joan Chodorow). London: Routledge

O’Shaugnessy, M. & Stadler, J. (2002). Carl Jung. Media and Society: An introduction (pp.176-184). Victoria: Oxford University Press.

Carl Jung. Image. Retrieved, April 12th 2011. Zemanta search engine from Wikepedia website;

Memories,Dreams,Reflections by Carl Jung.Image. Retrieved, April 12th 2011.Zemantra search engine from Flickr website;

Landscape and the creative personality

The lecture by landscape photographer by Dr.Juha Tolonen was a good example of using the creative process( landscape photography) and providing a contextual framework (ideas of modernity through social theories) in forging his creative process. Juha captured striking images that didn’t  fall into the categories of pretty or idyllic but more fittingly urban realism or contemporary urbanism because they dealt with urban decay, and the regeneration of  nature in the detritus of man’s consumption of its natural resources. The changing pace of the contemporary world and its visual pollution was bleak to say the least but effective non the less. The fusion and balance of theory and practice in his work ( known as praxis in the contemporary art game), caused me to reflect on my photography relative to the European landscape when travelling abroad.

I like to call it ‘coming up for air’, or travelling overseas as I strongly connect with my italian ancestry and therefore european environments tend to stimulate my creativity. I feel I need an injection of Europe to get the creative mind going. I decided to assess my image taking process and what I try to capture and what it says about my view of the continent. Below are some images of my last trip and see if you can pick the theme.

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Do you see a theme here?

A photographic representation of Europe with an emphasis of a glorified( if somewhat decaying)past. Hence reducing all images to Sepia tones for ageing effect and to simplify the imagery, a loose link to the perceived simplicity and glory of the Europe of the past. All this is fueling my creativity with the stories and histories recited by my family both here and abroad. So my creative personality is infused with my heritage.

I wonder what Freud and Jung would make of all this!

On the idea of creative personality which was discussed in the tutorial, I was reflecting on the 10 attributes of a creative person outlined by Csikzentmihalyi and wondered where I fitted in. As usual I felt rather chameleon like in my changing and shifting of personality dependant on my contextual leaning when creatively engaged. I can’t help wonder though, if personal traits are more imbedded at the gene and nurture level as much as anything else. As I catch myself at times in both creative and non-creative times reacting in ways both intellectually and emotionally as my parents did. In fact it tends to create a split in my personality at times as I vacillate between the two. But it does emphasis the point that ‘we are the sum of all that came before us’ ( as Meryl Streep pointed out in her moment on Who Do You Think You Are?), which only adds to the complexity of layers in my trying to unravel the creative process driving me on.


Csikszentmihalyi, M. (1996). The Flow of Creativity. Creativity: Flow and the psychology of discovery and invention (pp. 51-76). New York: Harper Collins

Tolonen, J. (2011). Photomedia. Lecture given at Edith Cowan University, Mt Lawley campus. March 25th, 2011.

Psycho Babble- creative theories,mind maps and why creativity is everything!
March 31, 2011, 3:33 am
Filed under: CCA1103 | Tags: , , , , ,

Who says you can never have enough of a good thing? This weeks lecture,by John Harman entitled Creativity is Everything,tutorial reading on psychoanalytic theories on creativity and tutor Dr. Mark McMahon suggesting we mind map our way creatively was almost too much for this ECU student to cope with. I swear I almost went for the reviving bottle of vapours and a lie down. The only saving grace was that again it made me appreciate even more this complex discussion and process of creativity. This week John Harman gave an insightful personal journey on his creativity, its effect on his life and the public domain. Namely his economic success as a ghost writer, script writer for mass media and published author. Through the years in the creative industry he has experienced a great deal and has integrated and supplemented his views through research and analysis of why creativity is everything.

He suggested that thinking without confines of ourselves and organisations( administration,rules and regulations) is necessary for creative knowledge. One way was the idea of mind-mapping to make ‘new connections between things'(Harman,2011).This process helps us ‘think outside the box‘ to create new ideas and concepts.

So I gave mind-mapping a go for myself. It wasn’t easy and coming to grips with my creative process in relation to my personal construct was both enlightening and revelationary. Here is the drawn diagram below.

Franco's mind map

Francos mind map

 A view of my mind and the way it functions in a map

It was enlightening because the creative theories mentioned in the tutorial after john’s lecture were not making much real sense(hence the blog title).Then I realized that in the process of analysing myself I gravitate towards believing the creative theory using the interactionist model of creative behaviour works. Person and environment are needed to be balanced and secure in my case to create effectively.This alines with Carl Rogers humanist approach to creativity with  forming a ‘physchologically safe environment’ , ‘internal locus of evaluation’, ‘playfullness’ and ‘openness to experience’ as means of  stimulating creativity.

This isn’t the only creative theory I find myself drawn towards. As sceptical as I am of Freud’s theory containing the ego,id,and superego, I tend to agree with the Primary and Secondary thinking process. As did John in his presentation(although Freud’s theory wasn’t mentioned) his idea on free association, brainstorming, word play, and fantasy daydreams in the Primary process, followed by “grown up” secondary process of analysis and reality and logic, are ways in which John and I go about the creative process.

So basically creativity is everything to me in that the context of creativity(my personal world) is enhanced, excited,balanced,nurtured and enlightened by my need to understand whats going on in the bigger domain of my personal bubble.

It was in the construct of this weeks lecture on the creative ideas of the mind that I decided to add the image at the top of my blog site. The image is representative of the shades and flexibility of the creative process. Sometimes free association of words and images can work well in getting an idea across, of course as anything related to visual imagery, it is subjective and interpretation is encouraged.


Davis,G. A. (2004). Definitions and Theories. Creativity is forever (pp. 58-73). (5th ed.). USA: Kendell/Hunt.

Harman, J. (2011) Personal Creative Process: John Harman.

Creative Schmative- Why is creativity important?
March 15, 2011, 8:05 am
Filed under: CCA1103 | Tags: , , , ,

Dr.Glen Spoors lectured this week on creativity from a historical overview. Included in the lecturer where some very interesting theories on cultural,ideological,philosophical and social contextual changes through the ages affecting creativity. Lecturing on these ideas and theories from the ancient origins to post modern civilisation was certainly given a speedy overview( a one hour lecture covering thousands of years of creativity and its implications was no small feat), however there was certainly a mass of information in power point and discussion which got the grey matter charged.The concept of creativity, an ephemeral and subjective idea at best viewed within a contextual platform was given  concrete form through the exploration of its past and present influences in human endeavours.

Reflecting on the changes in ideas through history and the work created throughout, caused me to think about my personal viewpoint on creative processes and why I create. Was I following the ancients in believing ” images and visions were are means for the divine to be communicated”(Spoors,2011).Do I follow a Romantic theory of an “idealised past” as a way of rejecting an “artificial world”? Am I creating visual imagery believing like T.S.Elliot that “the artist had to speak a “timeless” tradition and make it contemporary”?(Spoors, 2011)

I believe depending on the contextual content I’m thinking about and processing in a visual format be it photography,painting,drawing etc, my creative standpoint on the theories through history and It’s influence on my creativity, change.Isn’t that the point of creativity and it’s importance to mankind? The spark of a new idea and its successive processes involved is what spurs on the cultural evolution of the human species.Why would you want to subscribe to one theory as a platform to showcase your viewpoint? Surely this causes a creatively stagnate loop that simply repeats and reiterates the same viewpoint.Continuing on this path, would only plunge us into cultural darkness.Which leads me to another view on contemporary society and it’s effect on creative impulses.

The tutorial reading “Cock-Crow” an excerpt from ‘At day’s close: Night in times past’ by A.R Ekirch, was enlightening in showing the changes to humanities creativity when influenced by invention, namely artificial light, arguably “the greatest symbol of human progress” (Ekirch, 2005). This innovation coupled with shifting  ideology, created a myriad of changes in rapid succession, including better policing of  nocturnal activities increasing public safety, to creating cities running 24/7 enabling mass production on scales never witnessed in history . This gave rise to mass consumption and creating wealth in the process for more individuals, creating a new social middle class or ‘borgeoius’, as rich and poor had already existed in a longer time frame.This wealth increase ,coupled with labour-saving devices, allow the leisure time of the middle class to increase to consume the goods produced. The advantages and disadvantages can be argued ad nauseum. My point is that with the compression of time due to this where does it leave the importance of creativity? How is the spark of a new idea and process of creativity supposed to happen when the main factor influencing this and compressing as contemporary society moves along its’ path is time? Reading Ekirches loss of  “first/second sleep and its spiritual and other consolations”(Spoors,2011), caused me to ruminate on the idea that this was possibly the beginning of time being lost. Being able to reflect and germinate ideas of the conscious and subconscious in our relationship to the individual and society and our “spiritual” self seems to no longer be a granted option in contemporary society. I believe time is the essence of creativity in giving us reflexivity on issues that concern us as individuals and our place in creating cultural social and philosophical ideologies. This is precisely why I feel creativity is still important.

As to why I create and its importance throughout my life to engage with society visually,the answer isn’t clear.Giving myself the time to explore theories and ideas in this unit on creativity, may provide an answer. In the meantime I have through my visual practice constantly viewed works throughout history to try to inspire and explain this need to communicate visually with contemporary society. Looking to artists  past helps me identify with myself  as an artist and the challenges faced by artists to visually state their place in the world. Here is an example of  one such painting by an artist who inspires my understanding of the challenge to communicate ideas visually. Diego Velasques’ ‘Les  Meninas’ a painting that has intrigued the public and art historians and critics since its inception. Enjoy.



las meninas

Las Meninas - Diego Velazquez


References :

Ekirch, A. R. (2005). At day’s close: Night in times past (pp.324-329). New York: Norton and Company

Spoors,G. (2011). Creativity:An Historical Overview. Lecture given at Edith Cowan University, Mt.Lawley campus.March 12th, 2011.

Velazquez,D. Las Meninas. Image.Retrieved, March 15th 2011, from google image website;