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Describe your creative space. Do you work at home, in public spaces, etc.?
Taking photographs takes me to many places for inspiration. Inspiration can be an instant thing as I come across images literally everywhere. Later, sometimes much later, I look at the photography bounty. Well, it’s not always bounty. As with writing, not everything is ready for prime time. At my desk, I often make changes in an image. Cropping is quite common. And given the vast array of editing tools available, I often make even radical changes to an original image. For example, a color image might actually be better if presented as BxW. Editing is an endless project, but at some point one must move on, to the next image, that is.
How long have you been making art? When did you start making art?
I began taking photographs nine years ago. I had always been a writer. I always enjoyed looking at photographs. Any visual art, really. But I always felt that, as a writer, I didn’t need an additional creative vice. Then my life took a turn when I was diagnosed with cancer and I began that journey. My wife, an equestrian photographer, gave me one of her old cameras. So, while in chemotherapy, I began taking pictures. That is how it began for me. We all have a reason for our creative impulses, and this was mine. I have never stopped taking pictures. They vary from pastoral to portraits to abstracts. “The Fire That Night,” which will appear in the Magnolia Review (Issue 7), is from the latter category. I also make picture poems, with text superimposed on an image. I like picture poems as they bring together my love for both images and words.
Who is your intended, or ideal, audience? Who do you make art for?
Hopefully for anyone who might appreciate it.
What other things do you do besides art? Do you dance or play golf, etc.?
I teach creative writing and have for many years. I find it inspiring to watch writers find their voices. I am also involved in pet therapy with my Great Pyrenees dog. We visit many places and people. This experience gives me valuable perspective on my own life.
What is your favorite part of the creative process?
Perhaps the initial concept, though this is not always the case. I know one thing for certain. When an idea comes, be sure to make a note of it or it might be gone. Many ideas come to us, and sometimes we must pick and choose. The criteria? What pleases us. What challenges us.
What is your advice to aspiring artists?
Press on. Don’t be afraid to fail. Be truthful to yourself. No matter the creative form of expression, these things matter most.
Check out Christopher’s art in Volume 4, Issue 1.
Christopher Woods is a writer, teacher, and photographer, who lives in Chappell Hill, Texas. He has published a novel, The Dream Patch, a prose collection, Under a Riverbed Sky, and a book of stage monologues for actors, Heart Speak. His work has appeared in The Southern Review, New England Review, New Orleans Review, Columbia, and Glimmer Train, among others. His photographs can be seen in his gallery: http://christopherwoods.zenfolio.com/.