Maxims for Revolutionaries

Tuesdays with Ian:
Maxims for Revolutionary Photographers

a Complimentary liveBooks Webinar

July 7th

5 PM Eastern
4 PM Central
3 PM Mountain
2 PM Pacific

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maxim |ˈmaksim|
a short, pithy statement expressing a general truth or rule of conduct : the maxim that actions speak louder than words. ORIGIN late Middle English (denoting an axiom): from French maxime, from medieval Latin (propositio) maxima ‘largest or most important (proposition).’

pithy |ˈpiθē|
adjective ( pithier , pithiest )
(of language or style) concise and forcefully expressive.

1 rebellious, rebel, insurgent, rioting, mutinous, renegade, insurrectionary, insurrectionist, seditious, subversive, extremist.
2 a revolutionary kind of wheelchair new, novel, original, unusual, unconventional, unorthodox, newfangled, innovative, modern, state-of-the-art, cutting-edge, futuristic, pioneering.

How to use these Maxims. Take these questions and statements and extrapolate. Let them stir your soup. For example, if you were able to reinvent the concept of beauty, what would it look like? Some of these maxims appeared in Lawrence Ferlinghetti’s book: Poetry as Insurgent Art. I have adapted them for photographers and wrote a few of my own.


Creating is not a sedantary occupation. Stand up. Grab your camera, your sketchbook. Let them have it!

What music do people hear when looking at your artwork?

Reinvent the concept of beauty.

Stand up and rap out loud in front of a mirror or video camera.

Give the gift of sight to a blind world. Be an eye for the blind.

The sunshine of your artwork casts long shadows.

Make the invisible visible.

Like a field of sunflowers, artwork should not have to be explained.

Haunt independent bookstores.

Allow yourself dazzling flight — flights of outrageous imagination.

Make art without an attachment to an outcome.

Be a songbird; not a parrot.

If there is nothing to shoot, shoot it.

Make a photograph of common household objects. While you are at it, clean the cabinet under the kitchen sink.

Spend a day making art only in your mind’s eye. Shutterless pictures stored in the work flow of your brain.

What if the greatest magazines are from outer space. What if you were filing photographs to some supreme photo editor who wants to understand Earthlings and has a low tolerance for bullshit.