Serendipity, inspiration and creativity

Serendipity, happy coincidence or pleasant surprise, call it what you will, I think it happens for a reason. For me, it generally happens when I need motivation to get out of a rut and do something different, or to be creative when I haven’t been so for awhile.

Take last Saturday for example. I had the weekend to myself, as my son was away on a school camp. My Saturday was planned out to catch up on a multitude of photo tasks and blog writing. The morning light was gorgeous, streaming in through the windows on the northern side of my house. I spent an hour or so taking some photos in the kitchen where the light is best, thinking about shots for my 100 Happy Days challenge.

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Folded book setup shot (C) Deborah Ann Stott 2016

I returned to my desk in the spare room, intending to load the photos onto my computer. My eye caught a magazine lying discarded on the bed and I immediately had the notion to try a folded book shot. I have seen some fabulous examples on 365 recently and have wanted to give it a try for a while. Without a second thought, I carelessly folded the pages of the magazine into the centre, not bothering how many I put in each fold. Et voilà, I had the folded item.

Here’s what I started with

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Golden folded book (C) Deborah Ann Stott 2016

I started with the book on my desk, directed towards the window. I shot a few photos looking into light with this set up but realised there was too much clutter in the background. Although, the light was golden from this direction, I decided to move the setup to the bed. The bed is low so the background is my red curtains which filter the light in a alluring way.

If you can believe it, an hour passed

I discovered that because the pages of the magazine were glossy, they were reflecting the light so well. I took what I would call a record shot (1), then started to play. If I zoomed in, I the image looked more abstract (2). If I changed the point of focus I could see heart shapes in the far ends of the pages (3). Then I changed some of folds to stand out from the rest, or to fold over the rest. Another whole set of photos again. If I changed my angle, the colours changed (4). Zooming in accentuated the different folds (5) and folded over pages turned out looking like a cross section of a heart (6).

folded book film strip

Folded book shots sequence (C) Deborah Ann Stott 2016

There’s the moment of serendipity right there

The Psychology 24 website describes serendipity as that moment of clarity when you discover that you’re where you need to be. There I was, in that moment, I was where I needed to be. It was unexpected but I was content for that hour. I believe its a fantasy to think I can have this contentment every hour of the day. Yet it does comes in the small moments of an ordinary day. All I need to do is notice when it happens.

The article on serendipity on Psychology 24 says “That place is so rarely where we think it is, that it becomes crucial to be able to find it when we don’t expect it. In other words, we need to start looking for contentment more often so that we can find that serendipity. And that’s why it can pay to take part in these many ‘gratitude’ exercises.”

It is not coincidental that a big part of my 100 Happy Days is about being grateful and giving thanks. The point of tracking and posting my “Happy Things” on a regular basis is a way for me to look for this contentment in the ordinary parts of my days. Its not often that I find serendipity in the way I found it last Saturday, but I think being aware makes me notice the moments more rather than them just passing me by.

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