The Great Creativity Hoax
As I approach the world of photography and design these days I am a bit disgusted by what I see, both in myself and in others.
It seems that there is an epidemic going around that is an attack on creativity. Sure it isn’t a brute force attack. Rather it is pretty subtle and hard to notice, but it is there.
Creativity is far too often high jacked by something called G.A.S. or gear acquisition syndrome.
The fact is we often think that we will create better work if we simply acquire a new bit of gear.
I don’t think that is true. At least not most of the time.
Where did creativity go?
As I look at kids I see creativity in its rawest form.
- Lines on paper.
Small concepts arranged in a manner that evokes a response.
So my question to myself and to you is this, “Where did the creativity go?”
- Did we loose it in school?
- Did we “grow out of it?”
- Is it something that we have ignored?
- Have we drowned it out?
How do we get creativity back?
If we have creativity as kids and if we have moved away from it, we should at least broach the question of how we should go about getting it back.
There is no need to attempt to get creativity back if it isn’t important. But it is important. The world needs creativity. It needs beauty. It needs design and color and creativity to be able to convey messages.
As I look at the world around me I see creativity in a refined form.
Creativity is like most other things that we do… we get better at as we practice it. We loose it if we don’t practice it.
How do I practice creativity?
I’ve been thinking of ways to be more purposeful in my practice of creativity.
At first I didn’t know if this counted, but as I’ve thought about it more I am convinced it is true. Since I’ve had my iPhone I’ve taken WAY more pictures than I ever did before. In the simplest of ways I am starting to see little things around me as an opportunity to create an image. Appreciate the small things. A lot of them are pretty sweet.
Sharing your creativity is another good way to ensure that you continue to practice it. I also recently began using Pressgram. The ability to share my photos rather quickly, in a manner that I am happy with, has fueled my interest in creating and sharing…
I don’t know if I can say that I’ve been more creative since I’ve been shooting with the iPhone, but I am certain that I have been creating more regularly and as I stand behind my “real camera” I feel right at home.
Creativity comes more easily as I practice it. It is also more fun as I share it.
Where does creativity meet technical?
I think this is something that needs to be looked at on an individual basis, but it is something we need to ask ourselves as creatives. How are we limiting our creativity by continuing to focus on the gear that we use to create things? (Pies, furniture, photographs, applications, designs, houses, words.)
I get so stuck on the technical aspects of creativity. The new version of Photoshop. The new camera. The new _________.
It’s so easy to believe that creativity is somehow tied to our tools. However if we are honest it is seldom tied as directly to the tools we have as we would make ourselves believe.
Sure. At times we are limited by the tools we have… but a practiced creativity can usually find a way around the limitations of the technical and create a way forward.
Don’t tie your creativity to your gear.
About “Across This Water”
I’ve enjoyed the world of “surreal” or “abstract” photography. (Check this one out by John Paul Caponigro – Procession II)
So I thought I would delve into some of it myself.
Truth is this isn’t my first attempt at such a piece. But it is the most recent one… Since I believe that creativity is a practiced art, this definitely applies in the creation of such things as this.
I’ll give you a bit of a rundown about how you would go about making an image like this.
You’ll need several different photographs. Instead of thinking of them as individual “photographs” I tend to think of them as separate “elements.”
One of these elements makes up your base layer. It is the canvas upon which the other elements are placed and manipulated.
The rest of your elements are placed as layers on top of your “base element” and made to look how you want them too. This is accomplished through blending modes in Photoshop, masking, opacity, and a host of other tools.
The Story of the Image
Every image is supposed to tell a story. There needs to be some kind of heart in it. Some reason behind it.
Often these types of images are born out of the circumstances we find ourselves in, the stress, the hopes, the dreams, the despair, the piece of our lives that is current and raw… right on the edge of our very souls.
As I was creating “Across This Water” I was thinking about my current situation in life.
I feel as if I am on a shore looking out to the horizon, all I see is water, some of it rough… but then I get a glimpse of the possibilities that are out there. And they are out there, beyond the breakers, in the deep water, where so many of the things that make me feel safe and secure here on the shore will no longer support me.
All that is left is to dive in and swim like crazy!