We’ve Seen It Before…

“First we photograph things we know. And then we photograph things we interpret. And then we photograph things we reinterpret…”

When Chris said that, it left me wondering where I’m at in my creativity. In my editing, in my songwriting. Am I creating what I know? Am I writing what I interpret? What should and could I be reinterpreting?

I like this piece for many reasons. First, there’s some great food for thought here. I like that Chris is not some hipster-soho-photog-nyu-film-dropout cataloguing his incredible talent that he picked up with a combination of natural skills and YouTube tutorial. He’s a midwestern artist that fell into his art. Secondly, it’s shot well, the music bed is solid, and it tells a great story. And lastly, very quickly, it made me question my craft.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the body of creative work I’m building. I work in different mediums, and I’ve been thinking a lot about how to use what I know in one medium to better myself in the other. But Chris has some fantastic quotes in this piece. The idea of your creative memory, this sealed, seared-in instant recall that’s based on a simple sight or smell, and to capture it – am I creating art that creates or recalls those moments?


“All these landscapes and all these things are not all that exotic. We’ve seen them before – and we respond to them because of that.”


3 thoughts on “We’ve Seen It Before…

  1. The thought of being able to evoke someone’s “creative memory” is really interesting to me.

    I understand how the most basic of things can evoke a response, but I think there’s also the other end of the spectrum. The personal/complicated end. It’s that moment when I hear that song that just brings back the most vivid of memories. I think about my sketchbook. How I can turn to almost any page and immediately recall the emotion, or location, or moment in which it was created. But it’s so personal that I could never expect anyone else to look at the same page and respond in the same way. And that song was not created with the intent of me recalling that memory. I think those words, songs, smells, images, moments that trigger the most overwhelming and vivid parts of the creative memory are so specific and random and personal to each individual that you could never really create them.

    • And I think you’re right.

      It’s interesting, I’ve been wondering, “How can I create something that encapsulates that feeling for myself?” I mean, if I have a vivid moment, say a conversation, or a great walk, or a really intense moment in a relationship, can I create a piece of music that seals that feeling? Can I articulate that memory in a piece of art? Can I take a thought, a feeling that wells up and actually manage to articulate it in a way that I feel is accurate, that I got it right, that I nailed the feeling inside?

      I’m trying to. Really hard.

      • If I may add some thoughts to this conversation, it seems there are 2 different things being discussed here.
        One is what I’d call the sensory memory each of us has. That’s the song, smell, view, taste, etc. that takes you back to a specific moment/time in your life that has been connected to the sensory stimuli via your memory storage processes. This is something that seems to happen naturally, regardless of our intervention, or lack thereof. It could be possible to write a song that “seals that feeling”, but it seems the feeling would have to be prolonged enough that your memory storage would not be complete before the song you write in response is attached to it. Most of these stimuli for me are connected to the experience and cataloged in a pretty short time frame.
        Second is the attempt to accurately convey the way you feel through something you create. I agree that this is very difficult to do, but it is possible. For my past attempts, it seems to be easier to accomplish this the more quickly it can be completed. The longer it drags on, the more I lose interest in completing the project because it doesn’t seem relevant when I’m no longer immersed in that feeling.


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