What do Albert Einstein and Pablo Picasso have in common? What links the Theory of Relativity and quantum mechanics with art and creativity? When does the comic fiction of Douglas Adams become scientific truth? How do our children’s questions encourage us to examine ourselves and our life’s purpose?
These are some of the questions wildlife photographer Chris Weston grapples with on his journey to discover what compels him, and others, to pick up a camera and make beautiful art. It is a journey that started in the marshes of southern France and ventured beyond to Africa, Asia, the Americas
and the icy wildernesses of the polar regions and one he has skilfully documented in forty-four fine art photographs – a collection of evocative images that, together, tell us that creativity is not a gift of genius, it is a gift of life and it resides in all of us.
A master storyteller, whose fine art prints are collected by private clients around the world and exhibited in the Marylebone Gallery, London, Weston reveals how, by unshackling ourselves of the fetters of fear and expectation that restrain us to espouse instead a life led by significance, we may rise above expectation and choose to walk among the best who ever lived.
“Standing in the field with the horses that day, my initial problem was, at first glance I couldn’t see an image. And I was so determined in my intent to get a picture that my mind was set. In so being, I was constricted by the same shackles that held back Cezanne and Lorentz - the preconceived notions of how things are and what our environment looks like, and trying to make everything, even new ideas, fit into those propositions instead of looking beyond them towards a new reality. The solution is to set aside preconceptions and think with an unconstrained mind. By discarding old patterns of behaviour that are lodged in the brain, your mind has fewer assumptions on which to assess what the brain discards of the data your eyes receive. Creative thinking means you simply see more. And it’s the ‘more’ that enables one to create intriguing images of common subjects or discover hidden compositions that non-creative thinkers wouldn’t even conceive.”
“My moment of revelation came after a period of self-contemplation, during an assignment in Yellowstone National Park. I had made the decision to set aside my methodical approach to wildlife photography and stop chasing light, choosing instead to immerse myself in Yellowstone’s wintry wilderness and connect with the energy of the life around me. In so doing, I had subconsciously let go of my assigned goals and any attachment I had to a specific outcome and, in that none-attachment, I opened a channel that enabled potential to flow. In that sense, I was no longer the creator but the receiver of images.”
“In defining self-actualisation, one of the measures Maslow uses is the occurrence of peak experiences, which he described as, “sudden feelings of intense happiness and well-being … the awareness of an ultimate truth and the unity of all things … experiences of interconnectedness and harmony … at being one with the world and being pleased with it.””
“The gorilla turned and looked at me. Its eyes were deep and penetrating and looking into them, I saw briefly a reflection of my own mind at work. With a whisper of movement its eyes shifted, searching into its soul. Then she turned fully and opened her arms with an expression that said let me introduce you to my son. In her clinch was a 3-day-old baby. The tracker and I were the first humans to see it; asleep, cradled in his mother’s powerful yet delicate embrace. So enraptured was I, I almost forgot to do my job.”