Create a Collection
One of my all time favorite people in the world is my sister, Amanda. Amanda is a few years younger than myself, and growing up, we just had so much fun together. Part os the reason why we had fun is because she's this creative, vibrant soul, and she was always doing these interesting things, and one of the things that she did as a kid was she decided, she wanted to create a toothbrush collection. Started off with one toothbrush and then it grew, and eventually people heard about her collecting toothbrushes, so they would travel to Germany and then bring back a German toothbrush for her, or one from some other place overseas. She even got a horse toothbrush, and eventually she had like, I kid you not, so many toothbrushes, it was crazy, and her collection, it almost became this beautiful thing. Like a single toothbrush isn't that interesting, but when you see 50 all spread out and color coordinated, it's fascinating and kind of in a weird way, cool. And that's what collections do. When...
we collect things, somehow we add more value to them, and this can be said of things like toothbrushes or hub caps or whatever it is. One object, yeah, so so. Lots of objects, all of the sudden, it just takes on a different, such a different thing. I like how the author Mi-hai-ka-jinx-mi-hi wrote about this concept of collection and how that affects what we find interest in, because when we collect something, what happens is this, that once we start collecting, let's say toothbrushes, all the sudden, we're like oh, there's another toothbrush. We may never have noticed that, but the collection heightened our awareness. Okay, well let me get to his words. Here's what he said. If you're interested in something, you focus on it, and if you focus your attention on anything, it's likely that you will become interested in it. Many of the things we find interesting are not so by nature, but because we took the trouble of paying attention to them. Isn't that fascinating? The things we find interesting aren't really that interesting. It's just that we gave our attention to it, then all the sudden once we gave our attention to it, we're like wow, this thing is kind of cool, even with stuff like toothbrushes or whatever it is. You know, the difference, I think, between amateur and pro in a lot of different fields, say like photography, is an amateur will get a single lucky shot, or maybe a handful of lucky shots. A pro will have a set, or a collection, of frames. Same thing is true in music. You can write one song, and if it's a one hit wonder, you're not going to really get very far, but if you can create an album of songs that holds someone's interest, curiosity, and they stick with you through that whole thing, well you're going places with your work. Collections create value. Alright, so what's the creative activity related to collections for this movie here? Well I have a couple ideas for you. One has to do with photography. The other one has to do with just objects themselves. So with your camera or camera phone, whatever, I want you to try to collect something, and choose what it is. Perhaps you want to do this today. Say you're going to collect the alphabet, every single letter, moving forward. Photograph an A, and then a B, and then a C, all the way until you get to Z. See how quickly you can accomplish that task. Or maybe you want to photograph numbers, perhaps one through 10, and go around until you find those, and you have to capture them in different locations, or maybe it's colors, the colors of the rainbow. But have some fixed thing that you're seeking to collect. What will happen. Let's say you're going to collect the color blue, is all of the sudden, you'll see blue everywhere. It will just appear on that side, on the floor, on the tile, everywhere you go. You would have missed that otherwise, but the collection mentality will ignite that little creative spark. Another way to do this is to think about objects you might collect. I have one friend that collects owls. She just loves owls. She has all sorts of types of owls, owls on napkins, owl sculptures, owl little plastic statues. You name it, she has it. Another one that might be fun is I have a friend who her daughter collects snow globes. Everywhere she goes, every new city she's at, she collects a little snow globe and then brings it home. One snow globe from a city isn't that interesting, but if you see on her shelf all the ones that she has, it's kind of cool. So here's what my encouragement is for you. Think about photography, choose something to collect, and let's go simple, letters, colors, numbers, or something along those lines. It could be photographs of shoes or hats, or who knows what it is. The other one is actual objects, and try to collect something, and do this as a way to heighten your awareness of those things, because remember Mehi's words. He said, many of the things we find interesting aren't so by nature, but because we took the trouble of paying attention to them. Alright, last but not least, a couple of books in order to inspire you. Alright, if you want to dig deeper into this topic, one way to get inspired for collections is to look at photography books. There are tons of these out there. You can find photography books where people photograph smiles, and the whole book is just smiling things and faces. Another one that you might want to look at with more clear intents is one called Paris Colors. You do a search for that and you'll find the photographer photographed Paris through the lens of color, and all the photographs with blue in them are on a few pages, and then the reds, and grays, and these other colors and tones, and it's just interesting to see how someone can approach a place like Paris, which is so complex and beautiful, but add this collection concept on top of it in a really unique way. Last but not least, this is a book by one of my colleagues and friends. It's called the Hat Book, and in here, Rodney Smith, a photographer, who creates this timeless work, really beautiful stuff. What he does is he basically photographs people wearing hats, and when you see the work together, it's sort of a celebration of the hat itself, and it isn't a single image of someone wearing a hat, but it's that collection again that adds value there, and sometimes photography books can be inspiration for you as you seek to ignite your own creativity. And this is one of those fun exercises that you can do. I think when you're stuck in a rut, you're like oh, I don't even know what to do today. I don't know what to shoot. I'm just dry, I'm done. Come up with a way to collect an idea. Maybe start off with a color, a word, or an idea, and have some fun with this and see how it ignites some new ideas.