Intuition – what is it (within Art practice)?

At present, intuition tells me everything I need to know about what a good photographs is in my Artistic practice. But what is this thing I label ‘intuition’?

‘Without conscious reasoning’, comes up in standard definition of the word intuition. But when can one use reasoning in creating photographs?

Is formalised photographic compositions like studio portraiture more reasoned or contrived, if so what does this mean for the street photographer?

These are just some of the questions I wish to reason about here in this article.

If we as Artists/ or more interestingly Photographers engage in creating works using our intuition, and not using our reason; when does one aspect of cognition and perception work?

Years ago, and with a lot of reason, I thought of intuition as an extremely abstract notion. Especially when thinking of Art. Surely art is created in the consciousness of the individual and not willy nilly! Surely there is a reason behind the work of Art, an intention behind its’ creation!

But now i’m not just as sure about this.

Photography in the popular imagination is generally a representation of a real scene or event. But when photography is staged can it’s outcome attain more or less of a nuanced understanding. The same is generally in Art or painting in particular.

guernica - as political statement

For example: ‘Guernica’, by Pablo Picasso, surely has no intuition in it. It is reasoned – political commentary.


As another example: this photograph was taken of a Catholic Church in Italy, but it is only a commentary or record of me as a individual being there, not statement on the subject matter or wider context. Simply put, for better or worse, intuition was behind this photograph more than that of Picasso’s Guernica.

Nothing is contrived about this photograph, and, like many other photographs circulating the globe nowadays, it was a spontaneous creation!

So, what is the role of intuition in Art/Photographic practice for me?

Reason takes time to cultivate, intuition does not!

In effect, all of the reasoning has been done for the photographer in the real world. Whether by man or nature, little tangible reason can be added later by the photographer simply by the click of a button, or the tap on a screen!


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