The Creative Unconscious: What's your name, age, and professional title? Where are you currently employed?
Gretchen Powers: Gretchen Powers 25 photographer and filmmaker at Gretchen Powers Film and Photo
TCU: What hobbies do you have outside of your professional field that keep you inspired and motivated to generate personal work? How do they inspire you?
GP: I go to the woods or the coast as much as possible on foot, on a bike or on skis and often with my dog. The fresh air clears my head and I am always and most inspired by natural places, cabins in the woods, bridges across riverbeds and the like. A lot of times I explore the outdoors without a camera so I can see potential images more objectively without the stress of actually needing to create as I go.
TCU: Do you have a hard time balancing being a creative professional and generating personal work that you're proud of?
GP: I have so many other creative outlets besides photography and filmmaking that I don't necessarily feel the need to create photos for myself - though I do bring my camera on just about every hike or ski I go on, I'm often also photographing some product or another while I'm out there so I don't even count that as personal work. I love to knit, write, draw, do jigsaw puzzles and read—doing these things gives me a lovely break from wielding a camera while still being creative. I love to knit with colors that pop in nature and when I shop for yarn I often find myself thinking what hue will look best against a golden sunset or in a dense forest.
TCU: What time of day do you feel the most creative? What about the most productive?
GP: I am always most productive in the morning when my mind is fresh and I have a hot cup of tea in my hands. Afternoons and evenings I feel most creative - it's easy to be inspired outside after you've spent all day at the computer editing or doing office work and there's nothing like a good "golden hour" to really make me push myself to make magic with my camera.
TCU: What are your creative goals for the future?
GP: I challenge myself each time I hold my camera whether for work or play, at a wedding or in a creative's studio to make images that are exciting, different, and unique to me. This test results in work I am truly proud of—not because they are beautiful images per say, but because I took a risk and it paid off. I never want to stop challenging myself to seek unique angles. I'd love some elopement adventure seekers to hire me to shoot their wedding on a mountain top or in a canyon. I'd also love to make more films about other makers like the one below—I think it's such a great challenge to authentically tell someone's story in three minutes or less.
TCU: Are you working on any personal projects right now? If so, can you share a little bit about your inspiration and your creative process?
GP: I've been making a series of mini films—each from a trip or event in less than 60 seconds. I love making short films and found I was only doing it for work. A mini film could be made up from 5 or 50 clips, but the challenge of shooting when I'm inspired and seeing what kind of puzzle I can put together from the shots when I get home is fun and exciting.
TCU: What scares you?
GP: Missing moments. And not the ones you might expect—the first kiss, exchange of the ring, dad kissing the bride... those don't scare me, it's the little moments like the way that grandma looks when she sees the bride in her dress for the first time or a grin from a kid or a hug with a best friend - these are the moments and emotions that really make the day—and if you blink twice, it's so easy to miss them.
TCU: Anything else you want to add?
GP: Remember to take some time every day to unplug. It's a mad, mad world on the internet and screens can suck all of the creativity out of you if you let them.