I’m an amateur physicist. Emphasize the word amateur. Lately, I’ve been reading about standing waves, a phenomenon discovered by Michael Faraday almost two hundred years ago.
A standing wave happens when two waves of the same frequency and amplitude are moving in opposite directions and interfere with each other.
In very simple terms, terms I can understand and have nothing to do with physics, a standing wave is much like modern politics where opposite sides of an issue are arguing at each other with equal intensity and neither hears what the other means in their argument. There are no solutions.
What does this have to do with photography?
Standing waves are a good metaphor for stagnation that inhibits creativity.
For creatives, ideas and inspiration can be seen as waves moving in various directions. Sometimes, these ideas collide and interfere with each other, much like the waves in a standing wave phenomenon. This can result in a kind of creative block, where no new ideas seem to come forward.
Balancing moments of maximum amplitude in the creative process brings intense creativity and output. However, no movement can be metaphorically seen as a period where creativity stalls, much like the stationary nature of standing waves.
A standing wave can be safe. It seems to be perfect, an ideal solution to opposing motions.
There’s no danger in balance, in creating a standing wave as the answer to a problem. The solution to finding creative solutions is not to seek perfection. Seek danger. Seek risk.
There’s no risk in the perfection of a standing wave. The wave seems to be perfect, an ideal solution to opposing motions.
The standing wave can’t be the solution. Seeking perfection in any creative task cancels out the search for results in creative efforts. Perfection would be the balance. Balance without risk. Risk is what began the effort to find solutions to creative problems.
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