Creative Framework for New Beginnings

Colin Winterbottom is a Washington, DC based photographer, well known for capturing the ‘soulful energy’ of local landmarks from unique perspectives. With a degree in Economics, and a Masters in Philosophy and Social Policy, Winterbottom worked in the city for 8 years as an economist before deciding to pursue his long standing interest in photography.

So as I trained myself in photography; I set some rules for myself… I mean, I had just left a “sensible” career track to make artsy photographs, so the last thing I wanted to do was duplicate other people’s work. – Colin Winterbottom

In 2015, Winterbottom held his first exhibition at the National Building Museum (NBM)Scaling Washington: Photographs by Colin Winterbottom, and was interviewed about his creative process by NBM curator, Chrysanthe Broikos. The article is a quick read, and in addition to explaining how he reached the decision to leave his day job, it includes his approach to creating original artwork.

Winterbottom’s ‘rules’ also provide an interesting perspective, or framework for creative thinking. Should you be considering a new beginning, the comments below might easily be re-framed for thinking outside-the-box about your own project / journey.

  1. “I’d literally think of every way I had seen it photographed and would just avoid repeating that.”
  2. “I always tried to avoid the obvious vantage points and to find a unique way to look at something.”
  3. “Defy expectation.”
  4. “Explore and observe and wait until you see unusual things.”

Winterbottom specializes in black and white photography, and had been photographing a scaffolding set-up in the interior of the Washington National Cathedral after the earthquake of 2011. While there, he noticed how the sunlight shining through the stained glass windows traveled across the interior walls. He had the idea to use the unusual vantage points (see no. 2 above) provided by the scaffolding to film the sun’s daily progress. The video, set to original music, is stunning in its beauty.

Stained glass time lapse, Washington National Cathedral from Colin Winterbottom on Vimeo.

~ Debbie MacLeod


The CREATIVE CHANGE-MAKING Conference has been organized to showcase local heroes, individuals from within our own communities, who are creating their own path, leading by example, and following their dreams through purposeful work.

Intrigued? Come listen to the stories. Ask questions. Be inspired to change your life!

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