Moving Beyond My Comfort Zone

Last summer when I gave an evening lecture at the Maine Media Workshops, presenting a series of landscape and seascape images, a woman in the audience asked, "Don't you ever photograph people?" My response was that as a landscape photographer, I've had very little demand for people in my shots. And that's true. But for several years, I have longed to photograph people--something I really have not done in, well, a very long time.

ALISON SELLERS/Sophomore/Political Science and Gender Studies

"Influential women who have made an impact on the world inspire me."

But I'm a strong believer in the power of personal projects to get you out of your comfort zone. It's a great way to explore new techniques, new subjects and new ways of seeing. My opportunity to photograph people came this spring. For a graduate course in creative studies, I was exploring the subject of women and creativity. Some researchers in this field have proposed that women may both define and express creativity differently than men. As a graduate of a women's college and advisor to a collegiate women's organization, I decided to ask college women their thoughts on this subject. And then I photographed them expressing their creativity in some way. Some chose to be photographed with symbolic objects or something they had made; others put on a performance in the studio. The end product is a book in which I pair the photograph with a quote from the student.

I have to confess, it's the most fun I've had taking pictures in a long time. The students were great. Of 36 photographed, no two walked into the studio with the same concept. And they all shared interesting views on the subject of creativity. So over the coming days and weeks, I'd like to share some of those images and their comments, as well as a few reflections on the creative process, with you.

TAWNY KERN/Senior/Fashion Merchandising

"Being around creative people is like fuel. There is this energy created that is sometimes a force to be reckoned with. It's like a snowball: One idea turns into another, that then turns into another. I love how you can end up with something so far from what you started with."

Photos ©2010 Lee Anne White. All rights reserved.