Wednesday, 10 June 2009

The instinctive brain

I've been reading "Risk" by Dan Gardner, a book I picked up at the airport (something I often do with a bunch of time to kill before catching a plane). Not immediately relevant to photography it might seem. It's really useful from a professional point of view as I deal with issues of low probability/high consequence industrial risks every day. But that's not the point.

The first part of the book deals with the psychology of dealing with risk and the nature of primitive, instinctive thinking versus the rational stuff. It occurred to me that some of this may be relevant to photography (and many other activities), a notion that has sort of lingered in the back of my mind for some time. Maybe the best photography stems from an instinctive response to the world, fostered and strengthened by habituation (getting out and doing plenty of it). Certain I feel my best work comes with apparent little effort, whenever I put too much thought into things I over-work it and the results reflect that. Maybe photography is art that appeals to the caveman instinct.

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