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. She was present in his photographs even when she wasn’t in them."
To me, the “additional” f-stop that Harry's friend spoke of relates to every genre of art and to every creative effort. It is a metaphor for using the awareness of form to interact with creative spark. This interaction can arise from anyone or anything and for anybody at any time. It's pure, remarkable magic. But how do we find it?
Stephen Covey says, 
“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.”
Knowing that creativity is not reserved for artists alone, I can confidently say that the additional f-stop exists within each of us waiting for the right moment to emerge. This potent force wants only two conditions to show up: 1) Self-awareness (which changes the way we interact in the world. Striving for self-awareness makes us nicer, happier people. It opens us up). 2) Feeding the force: Feeding and following creative cues brings a bubbling to the surface, 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 partly because I didn't want my creative process to suffer because of money or fear of where I would get my next gig. I wanted to protect the love I have for my 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.
Truly, 


Juliette Mansour | Casa Dresden
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