Being a freelance creative has a lot in common with philosophy. Both straddle the line between the tangible and the intangible, both have varying degrees of value based on the perception of different people and both invite a lot of questions.
‘Why am I doing this? Do you think this could work? How are you going to make money?’ These are all common questions freelance creatives have been and will be asked until the end of time and celebrating the journeys of freelancers is a big part of Stoic Athenaeum.
Manchester based freelance photographer Jason Lock has spent plenty of time honing his craft in the freelancing wilderness and I recently spoke to him about his experiences.
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When someone is described as having an eye in photography, it’s a sign of talent. A sign of seeing and capturing the world in a unique way and there’s something wonderfully philosophical about that expression.
Being able to see is a vital skill in both photography and philosophy and a philosopher who comes to mind is Henry David Thoreau. Known for his close observation of nature and interest in the natural world, Thoreau earned a reputation for being able to see things the average person might think of as downright strange and weird.
And that is precisely what made Thoreau who he was, meaning photographers can take inspiration from the man on how to see the world. So, how do you become a Thoreauvian photographer?
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The View From Above is a Stoic technique that can help to clear away the noise of the day and take an objective, bigger picture viewpoint of the world. Marcus Aurelius was fond of using this technique and wrote about it often:
“Think of substance in its entirety, of which you have the smallest of shares; and of time in its entirety, of which a brief and momentary span has been assigned to you; and of the works of destiny, and how very small is your part in them.”
So, The View From Above is about shifting from a first person view to a third person view. Imagine looking at yourself as if you were in the sky and it could seem as if the events that you’re currently experiencing aren’t nearly as bad or important as they seem in the moment.
With that in mind, here’s a photography collection that is inspired by this Stoic practice.
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Living in accordance with nature is a phrase that often comes up in Stoicism. It may bring to mind images of people stripping down to the buff and running freely through the forest. (Nothing wrong with that. But not what the ancient Stoics had in mind!)
To live in accordance with nature is to live in balance with the natural world and with human nature. ‘Nature’ in the Stoic sense stems from the Greek term ‘physis.’ This isn’t an object i.e. the Natural world or even a state i.e. the natural colour of dirt.’ Physis refers to the process in which things are intended by nature to grow and that is where the focus on human nature becomes key.
The idea of living in accordance with nature has inspired a photography collection that showcases nature in the traditional sense and people living in the world according to their nature.
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