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It’s a common myth that creative genius comes naturally—Beethoven just understood music, Michelangelo magically knew how to paint, Denzel Washington was born ready to act. But the truth is, talent takes time. Workshopping ideas, experimenting, sketching and planning, surviving setbacks, experiencing moments of inspiration—these are all part of the job. In honor of Women’s History Month, WIRED asked four women photographers to demystify this process by telling us about their most challenging image.

These interviews have been edited for brevity and clarity.

Photographer Jasmine Clarke took this photo of her father and sister in Jamaica, where her dad is from.  

Photograph: Jasmine Clarke

Jasmine Clarke

Photographer, Brooklyn

WIRED: Tell us about the photograph you chose.

Jasmine Clarke: “Monty and Zoraya” is a photograph of my dad and sister in Jamaica, where my dad is from. I wanted to create a portrait that reveals very little about the subjects but still resonates emotionally. I wanted the image to feel warm and inviting, yet maintain a level of privacy.

Why do you consider it your most challenging photograph?

I had a clear idea of how I wanted the image to look but was unsure if I could make my vision a reality. Creating an image—setting out with a visual plan—tends to be more difficult for me than happening upon a photograph. Also, photographing your family is always a challenge.

Do you have any advice for artists who might find themselves stuck or unsure of how to proceed with their work?

Keep a process journal—write down all your frustrations, fears, and concerns. Then set the journal aside and take some pictures. Try to separate the creator from the critic. For me, it’s nearly impossible to make work if I’m overanalyzing every picture I take. That can happen later in the process.

“It was a landscape I had never visited before, and I was aware of the implications of artists responding to and taking from an environment that they do not consider part of their own,” Felicity Hammond says of this photograph she took in Barrow-in-Furness, England. 

Photograph: Felicity Hammond

Felicity Hammond

Mixed-media artist, London

WIRED: Tell us about the photograph you chose.



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