by Juliette Mansour of Casa Dresden
Dear Reader, 
There’s a beautiful story about photographer Harry Callahan‘s deep and abiding love for his wife, Eleanor, who died in February of 2012.  Harry made portraits and photographs almost daily of Eleanor – his beloved subject – over the course of 50 years.  After Eleanor’s death, a friend of Harry’s was quoted:
“She was an additional f-stop on his lens. Through her, he saw form and structure more clearly, both in nature and in the world.”
To me, the “additional” f-stop is a metaphor for how to cultivate our own awareness to make art. This creative awareness - also known as "the additional f-stop" -  exists in anyone or anything and at any time. It's pure, remarkable magic and I dedicate this site to it. 
But how do we find our own additional f-stop?
“Every human has four endowments – self awareness, conscience, independent will and creative imagination. These give us the ultimate human freedom… The power to choose, to respond, to change.” - Stephen Covey
First, know that the additional f-stop exists within each of us waiting for the right moment to emerge. It requires only two things: 
1) Self-awareness which changes the way we interact in the world. Not falling asleep at the wheel for too long helps us know ourselves and live our truth. This self-awareness makes us nicer, happier people. It opens us up. 
2) A willingness to feed the creative moment when it shows up: Feeding and following creative cues brings light to the lens, so to speak. It creates opportunity and amazing potential, but you have to be ready to jump on those cues.
In 2008 I left the world of creative freelance and joined the full-time work force again because I didn't want my creative process to suffer due to money or fear of where I would get my next gig. I wanted to protect the love I have for my own additional f-stop and let it run free, my only obstacle being time. As a result, I've done more with myself as an artist since. It was the best choice I ever made.
I hope in some small way, I hope this inspires you towards a path of awareness, your own additional f-stop.

Juliette Mansour

Juliette Mansour | Casa Dresden
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