Pat's View: Flow
By Patrick Robinson
Most artists can relate to the idea of flow.
That focused/creative/borderline spiritual state of mind where judgements are unimportant and the ideas, actions, and creation of a piece of art takes place.
It’s that intentional entry into a means by which a mind becomes an almost physical conduit of something conceptual from the ether to a form that others can percieve.
This is not to say that training, experience and having an intellectual grasp of core elements of craft are not important.
In my view, flow is disproportionately more so.
The Greek philosopher Heraculitis was famous for saying “Everything flows” by which he meant that change is constant. Even a simple examination of the world of quantum mechanics, to the indescribable vastness of deep space is proof of this idea. So in many ways, art is a a means by which we can pause that process, even if only briefly, to look at life and reality as we find it and hopefully grow.
For some artists it comes naturally and early. Every major rock star on the planet showed the ability to enter a flow state early in their lives, some almost without training.
For others, the ability to simply open a conduit, and let whatever needs to come out be made real is what it's all about.
That to me is the only genuine magic in human life. Something that did not exist before, suddenly does, and if it has the power to spark recognition, movement, emotion, or awareness… it’s only that much more incredible.
As a photographer I’ve been fortunate to be able to take so many photographs that in the right situations, flow seems to come naturally to me. I can feel my senses shift, feel my personality shift, almost like my amygdyla in my mid brain switch forward enabling a connection to something outside myself. I know this happens and if people encounter me in that state, I’m usually not patient, thinking of others, or even kind. I’m locked on and hyper aware of how what I am seeing could be best captured. The technical aspects seem to fall away and the light entering the lens is appearing in my cerebellum where my optic nerves connect to my cerebral cortex. The camera is just a funnel at that point.
That feeling is admittedly addictive. It’s complete engagement to the exclusion of all else.
So channeling it after the fact to a good purpose is important.
I’ve been fortunate too, to have grown up in newspaper family where the need for photos is constant and now to have people on social media who look at and care about my work. It feels in those moments as if my efforts matter, and as if I’m having a positive impact on people’s lives.
For me, flow, and the direction of the output from that ability means a lot.
It’s how I make sense of reality.
You can see Patrick Robinson's photography at his site www.patrickrobinson.net
You can follow Patrick Robinson via his podcasts on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or other platforms under Patrick Robinson: Points of View