hgazette.com, Haverhill, MA

May 9, 2013

Striving for creativity

By Don Toothacker
The Haverhill Gazette

---- — Creativity is a powerful thing. It can change a life or the world.

As a photographer, too often I struggle with expressing myself from a different perspective. I know my camera equipment, I feel confident in my compositions, and I am secure photographing a variety of subjects. But despite all of that, creativity remains a personal nemesis. I admire anyone who is creative.

Every Tuesday night, my son takes Hip Hop lessons at DeAngelis Dance Studio in Lafayette Square. The second-story studio is large, but, like many studios, mostly bare. Sitting one night watching the class, I was struck by the open expanse of the studio, the many windows, and one particular door. Watching the kids dance and move past the large windows made my mind race with photographic images. Looking at the door and windows, I knew exactly the image I wanted to create. By the light of day, I planned an image for my nighttime series. All I needed was a ballet dancer. All I needed was some creativity.

Spring is here in all its glory. Warmer, colorful days should inspire us to be active and creative in all that we do. Creativity can impact your life. Reshape your gardens, paint your bedroom a bold color, cook a daring new meal or, like Kayla Scott, just dance. I was introduced to Kayla at the studio and instantly knew she was the right person to pose for my vision of a dancer practicing in a dimly-lit studio.

Kayla is a junior at Northern Essex Community College, but dancing has been a creative outlet for her since she was 3 years old. Today, at 21, she is a beautiful young woman with poise and quiet energy. Despite her gentle demeanor, it takes strength and fortitude to be a dancer. Kayla practices, continually, to hone her movements and pinpoint her positioning. Music stirs her impulse to dance and create a flow of movement that enhances the rhythms as well as her own emotional connection to the sounds. I asked her to humor my creativity with some of her own.

Creativity comes from within, but inspiration to be creative is provided by events and people surrounding us every day. The trick, I think, is to welcome inspiration whenever possible, but act upon it with patience and clarity. Too often, we rush to complete something instead of making sure it is done to the best of our abilities and imagination. I struggle with creativity, but every now and again I get a hint of how powerful it can be in my life. I saw that studio space and its perfectly positioned door. I saw the windows that could tell us that it was night. I saw a space for an illuminated dancer. The vision was in my head long before I pressed the shutter. For a moment, I was creative and it felt wonderful. Be creative in everything you do. Creativity can change your life or your world.

Email suggestions of Haverhill people and places to photograph to Don Toothaker at toothakerphoto@gmail.com.