Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #110: Creativity in the Time of Covid

Anxiety is the handmaiden of creativity.― T.S. Eliot

Last week, Amy inspired us with her “Under the Sun” theme and shared marvelous images from her trip to Egypt.   I enjoyed your beautiful, sun-drenched responses, which were a celebration of the sun in many places and at different times of the year.  Thank you for sharing them! 

This week, Tina leads the Lens-Artists Photo Challenge with her intriguing question of how we’re responding creatively during the pandemic.  At first, like many us, I was simply overwhelmed by the news, the barrage of statistics, the death tolls, but slowly I began to pay attention to some of the cultural giants who are showing us that creativity can actually thrive in a hot house of anxiety.  Their work has inspired me to look beyond my little world and reach out to others.

One of my heroes during this time is Giovanni Boccaccio, whose human comedy The Decameron, was inspired by the black death, which decimated populations all around the world.   His novel, set in Florence during an outbreak of the plague, is full of comic tales of love, lust, greed, and stupidity–reminding me that human nature hasn’t changed much since the Middle Ages.  Surprisingly, this thought is reassuring.

My other hero is Yo Yo Ma, whose collaborative project, “Songs of Comfort” is dedicated to the victims of covid.  Last month he played Bach’s complete set of cello suites over two hours (from memory by the way) in a special concert broadcast over WGBH radio in Boston.  In his talk afterwards, he saluted the resiliency of humankind during times of crisis and called on creative artists to reach out to others and share our work which can uplift others and help to reassure and revitalize them.  It was a stunning experience. 

Now, here’s a look at several of my own creative projects–both in photography and fiction:

Flower Macro Series

Human salvation lies in the hands of the creatively maladjusted.― Martin Luther King Jr.

As you may remember, I recently bought a new macro lens, which I’ve been using to capture some of the splendid flowers in the public gardens in Portsmouth.  Here are two more images from this series:

Landscape Series

To be an artist means never to avert one’s eyes.― Akira Kurosawa

The sunsets have been spectacular this summer.  One evening, I shot a series of images of the city and Portsmouth harbor from the rooftop of our friends’ apartment building. Thanks Alan and Liz!  Here’s the city view and the harbor view.

Skyline Portsmouth at Sunset

Historical Fiction

I dwell in possibility.~ Emily Dickinson

Finally, I wanted to share some of the visual inspiration I’ve collected as I work on my second novel, set in Boston and Detroit in the 1930’s and 1940’s.  Over the past several months, I’ve gathered photos of people, places, newspaper clippings, brochures, and even apartment floor plans as I research my story.  I pin these photos up on a bulletin board above my desk and refer to them as I write.  This helps me present a clear and consistent description of how a character looks, for example, or where he or she lives, or a place where a scene is set.  In the collage below, you can see a group of kids in a convalescent hospital where they were recovering from tuberculosis or rheumatic fever, like one of my young characters.

As I wrap up this post, I’d like to thank Tina for her creative inspiration this week.  Now more than ever, we need the light, beauty, and hopefulness of all your creative talents.  If you join our challenge again this week, please link to Tina’s  post and use the Lens-Artists tag so we can find your post in the Reader.

Before you go….Are you interested in learning more about about the team behind the Lens-Artists Photo Challenge?  Amy, Tina, Ann-Christine, and I invite you to visit TCHistorygal.net where you’ll find our recent interview with Marsha Ingrao of Always Write.  It was great working with Marsha and being a part of her Artists’ Interview series.

Stay tuned next week, when I’ll be hosting LAPC #111.  Please stop by and join us!

91 replies »

  1. Perfect Patti! Loved your garden images, obviously enjoying the new lens. And the peek into your novel-in-process is wonderful. Gives us a better idea of how you shape your story. Terrific view of creativity and it’s importance for all of us, PS. Adore Yo Yo Ma. From MEMORY?!?!?!?

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hi, Tina.😀. Many thanks for your thoughts. I’m delighted you enjoyed this one. The macro is a lot of fun–as I’m getting used to a manual focus lens. And Yo Yo Ma…amazing. Yes…from memory!! He is so down-to-earth too, which I love. Thanks again for inspiring us!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Oh…as for shaping the story…some of the characters are based on real people, so I am using some events from their lives and some from history. The rest is imagination.😀

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    • Hi, Janet. Glad you like the macro. It’s a manual lens, so I’m getting used to it. And thanks for your kind words about my talent😀. I’ve been fortunate to be able to devote my time to several artistic pursuits. It’s such a joy. I think all of us have these talents. It’s a shame when people can’t or don’t develop them. I always admire artists like Bowie who are incredibly talented in very different areas.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. You have weaved the the cultural giants, exquisite images via your lens, and your historical fiction beautifully and perfectly for this theme. What an extraordinary post.
    Thank you, Patti so much for giving us a glimpse of the progress of your book. I know I’ll enjoy Yo Yo Ma’s “Songs of Comfort”.
    Appreciate for your encouraging words for the “Under the Sun” theme. I’m honored.
    Enjoy the rest of the weekend. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi, Anne. You are very kind. I was a writer first and a photographer second. I think they really are complimentary skills! They give me a lot of pleasure. I hope you have interests that give you that same satisfaction! I’m sure you do.😀

      Liked by 1 person

    • So true, John. Sunsets and flowers…great sources of inspiration and beauty. They are also very cooperative and don’t move around a lot!! That makes them a lot easier to capture! I’m looking forward to seeing your creative interests, too, John. I know one of them is jigsaw puzzles and the other is history… Are there more?

      Liked by 2 people

    • Hi, Susan. Thank you! I’m so glad you’re enjoying his concerts, too. I have to check and see if there are any more scheduled in the next few weeks. They’re like an ocean of tranquility!

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    • Hi, Su. Glad you like the sunset! They have been spectacular. And thanks for the encouraging words about my book. Writing has taught me to respect the process–to enjoy the “journey” no matter if I have no idea where the story and characters are taking me!! Take care, too, and stay well.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Gosh, you have been wonderfully busy and creative during this time. I started off quite well, but my joie de vivre has taken a bit of a knock lately, and finding visual inspiration for this challenge may be quite a task. I had no idea you were a writer of entire books too. I await news of its publication with eagerness!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi, Margaret. I know what you mean. I feel like I’m on an emotional roller coaster at times. But knowing we’re all struggling through this and reaching out to others have really helped. I’m trying to take it day by day. That makes it better. And my writing and photography really help. I’m sure you’re doing more creative things than you realize. I can’t tell you how many people think that cooking isn’t creative or sewing or gardening…(for example). They all are!!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. That macro opening image is fantastic. I have to say that I didn’t know you are a fiction writer. I love to read fiction. I fear that though I might have the creativity to come up with a storyline, I would be lousy at what you are doing with your bulletin board. I’d have so many nonsequiturs that people would wonder about my sanity. 🙂
    In any case, good luck with the success of that next creative project of yours!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi, John. I’m delighted you like that one. It’s been interesting getting familiar with a manual lens. Yes, fiction, too! My process is different from other people’s. Some people make outlines and do it that way. I have trouble with that! Thanks for the good luck wishes!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Hi, IJ. Yes…10 hands! I’m glad you like the macros. I’m enjoying it. I hope you get some light, but it will be raining for quite a while, won’t it? How long does it usually last? Can you take any photos inside?

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    • Hi, Anne. I am delighted! Thanks! I’m sure you find moments of calm and beauty when you’re out riding. I think it’s essential. Life is just too crazy otherwise! I hope all’s well with you.

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    • Thank you so much, Cee. I’m just wish my eyesight was a bit sharper! It’s been fun learning how to use a manual lens. You’ve been a great guide for us as we grow the LAPC. Thanks for all your encouragement and support, too, Cee.

      Like

  6. Beautiful images Patti, I especially love your macro of the orange flower and your sunset shots and I enjoyed your responses in the interview too 🧡 Your background research for your novel sounds like a lot of fun and I wish you happy writing! 🤗💖 xxx

    Liked by 1 person

  7. A great post, Patti! Wonderful images and a good look into your writing work! You have so many talents, and you make good use of them – which we all are grateful for. Hope you will continue having fun and hope to see something of your novel later on!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Lovely images and story. I do believe anxiety has become our biggest problem during this pandemic, but in many cases, if channeled it correctly, it can help us transform and create.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Patti, such beautiful pictures of the sunsets in Portsmouth, the sky is so dramatic and beautiful in this area. And, Love your flower photos, they have inspired me. Now I wish my macro lens was here. Really enjoyed reading your post!😊

    Liked by 2 people

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