The process of creating a photograph can be just about as complex or simple as a photographer chooses it to be. In its simplest form, with the push of a button on a digital camera one can produce a photograph. For many photographers there are layers of production, or steps to get to a final product. Why then, do some photographers add more steps?
The steps themselves can be an important aid to creativity. For example, in order to create a grainy film photograph in black and white with intentional light leaks, there are many steps that are needed to affect the outcome. It is in these steps that the product is actualized. While this is obvious, each step can be taken as a unique opportunity to insert ones vision into the final product. The most often acknowledged step of the process is what goes into capturing the image--what lens, camera settings, etc. However, the image is influenced by the way it is developed, scanned, any post production that takes place.
While all of this is very obvious, the interesting part comes when examining a photographer's work, with the understanding that each step that went into producing the work was either a conscious or unconscious decision. So, in producing an image, awareness is key to control. Constraints can be extremely conducive to creativity. Becoming aware of areas of your process that you do not want to change might be important. Awareness can even mean creating parts of your process that introduce variables that are out of your control.
My work is largely created around the things that work for me, and produce results that are effective at communicating my vision. While this often includes introducing unpredictable variables, awareness is key to understanding my process and what works best for me. The practice of awareness of process, in turn makes me more aware of my subconscious as I review the results. Photography is a great way for me to interact with the universe with a certain level of awareness. Bringing intent to each part of the process also allows me to most effectively communicate my vision.