Creativity – the ethereal thing unable to catch ….

Latest Posts Photography Forums General Photo Chit Chat Creativity – the ethereal thing unable to catch ….

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    • #419629
      Petr Nowak

      I’d like to discuss something very special. Photography means technical and creative point of view. The first one is widely covered by numerous articles, youtube videos, books concerning gear, location search, exposition, postprocess, printing, composition rules, and many others.  You maybe complain about composition rules now. Isn’t it creative issue? No. I think everything you can (easily) get by study of books, watching videos, taking part in workshops, is technical issue. I mean rules, how to, technical parameters, to do lists, etc. And composition rules too.

      Creativity on the other side is something other. Creativity means:

      • how to get new ideas
      • how to photographically see when shooting
      • how to see ideas/stories around you
      • how to feel emotions
      • and others….

      Simply everything what happens before you know what you are to shoot. So to the point you have the scene, subject, idea, story. I consider this first part as the most tough, complicated, intriguing, challenging part of process. It’s mostly technical issue from this point (what angle, wait for better light?, what lens, framing, right exposition).

      It can’t be learned easily like technical issues. It’s rarely teached (they are a lot of photographers that understand technical issues, but very few understanding creativity really well).

      I’d like to know how you do this? Your experience. Your methods? Any books concerning this? Workshops? Anything what can support/help our creativity? This is broad area so please don’t limit your thoughs, ideas…

      I can add my own experience to start discussion: I’ve read some book about meditation. And I’ve made great experience with this. My best photos was created in special frame of my mind (I don’t try to do something, to think too much, I “disconnected” from thoughs about my family, job, etc. and suddently you feel in other state of mind and you start to see things around you, you are not able to see otherways).

      I’m eagerly looking forward to your answers….

      • This topic was modified 5 months, 1 week ago by Petr Nowak.
    • #419633
      Jasenka G

      I noticed that I manage to get some really creative shots whenever I come up with a specific task for myself, for instance when I decide to shoot only weird abandoned contraptions, only red-haired people, only examples of sadness and such. It’s interesting how limitations can spark creativity.

    • #419642
      Kent DuFault

      I suck at math, but being creative is something that has always come incredibly easy to me. In fact, I don’t even really think about it. But, if I were to give some advice on the matter. I would think along the lines of Jasenka. Self-assigned projects that you force yourself to explore a subject, thought, process, or piece of gear thoroughly. And to me, thoroughly is a longer term commitment. It doesn’t conclude in a weekend or even a month. I used to give myself assignments in which I would only stop the project after I had 10 images that I would be proud to show anyone. That is one of the ways that I built my commercial photography portfolio back years ago.

    • #419655
      Petr Nowak

      Yes, I forget to mention I’m left-brained person. So creativity is a nightmare for me. I always stick to logical things like mathematics, physics, programming. And more and more you’re in logical world you more and more avoid creative work. And creative people vice-versa.  So I was better and better at programming and analysis and worse and worse at creative issues.
      I think the left/right-brain preset isn’t absolute/definitive and everybody is able to “break the rule” and be good (maybe very good) in opposite world.

      Photography is my attempt to “break the rule” and free my soul… (of course the creative part, not the technical one like GAS and other weird stuff :-).

      Yes, specific task/limitations is a good way.
      10 very good images before project stops too.

      I’ve heard about way to overcome personal barriers in street photography: get 10 acceptances and 10 rejections of offer to make portrait of any stranger in one day. 😀

      • #419742
        Robert Apple

        Someone once told me take what you know best and apply it. Try a search for ideas along that line to get you going.

        Physics Photos

    • #419656

      Totally agree with you Petr. Specially in the close confines of a studio. I guess that’s why I find nature shooting so much easier and more relaxed than in the studio. In nature no two shots are the same and the photographer is not to be thanked for that.

      In a studio you really have to think hard to get to the next original pose or scene. I always try to have a 2nd person with me in the studio – even if it’s only a make-up artist. Two heads are certainly much, much better than one!

    • #419769
      John Thompson

      I struggle with creativity myself Petr.  I am much more analytical than creative.

    • #419836

      for those of you who struggle with creativity you can read up a bit some mathematical creativity.  things like using the golden ratio in your compositions or symmetry.

      one thing that helps me a lot is to pick a place and search it on a site like flickr to see how many different compositions everyone has found at that place.  don’t copy the photos, just take note of what works and what doesn’t.  if there are photos you like then critique them in your head.  was it the use of foreground elements you liked or the light at a certain time of day or were the elements layered or framed differently?  that can help you see different comps when you’re there or even when you’re somewhere else.

    • #419945

      Yeah i avoid medication……………….seriously…………..good points

      The technical and creative are totally separate!

      learn the maths/basics then go your own way ! 🙂


    • #419957
      Graham Hart

      Creativity is heavy stuff and not easily defined. I think that to connect with your creative self you first need to disconnect with normal ways of seeing stuff. Someone mentioned in another post recently that they have an ‘associative mind’ and can’t help thinking that some images remind them of something else. This is creativity in action.

      I guess the trick to photographic creativity is to do this before the picture is taken. Look at the scene and see beyond the physical reality. Seeing the interplay of light, form, composition and texture rather than the brain’s immediate interpretation of “Oh, that’s a flower”. There are inumerable examples of this throughout this site.

      I have a personal challenge which I have been pondering for a while but haven’t yet worked out a creative way to go about it. I want to take a picture of grass that is more than just a pic of grass. I want it to show some level of creativity. It stems from lying on a lawn in the sun just thinking about stuff. After gazing at the lawn around me for some time I became absorbed in the minutiae and detail of the hidden little world between the blades of grass. The ants crawling around, the breeze swaying the grass around, the light and shadow, the textures of soil and grass.

      I think creativity lies in the detail. Seeing beyond the immediate. The act of disconnecting from the world we know and seeing things as if for the first time.

      It was a lot easier when I was younger. Roll a doobie and away you go on a creative journey of discovery. Those days are long gone but maybe they opened some doors to the mind which otherwise wouldn’t have been. Who knows?

      • #419970
        Robert Apple

        That’s all good and well unless your dog eats your stash.

        • #420097
          Kent DuFault

          LOL! Robert, you bring something special to this forum!

    • #419958

      Start with color.    Choose a color and look for it to be a subject of your photos for a week or maybe just a day or two.

    • #419995
      Petr Nowak

      Some interestings points for me:

      • “I come up with a specific task for myself.”
      • “I used to give myself assignments in which I would only stop the project after I had 10 images that I would be proud to show anyone.”
      • “Take what you know best.”
      • “You first need to disconnect with normal ways of seeing stuff. Seeing beyond the immediate. The act of disconnecting from the world we know and seeing things as if for the first time.”
      • “Look at the scene and see beyond the physical reality.”

      Thanks !!!

    • #420037
      Federico Alegria

      Unfortunately creativity has this sort of “divine” nature embedded into it, for me a great starting point is gear limitations. By having just one single prime lens you’ll impose some limits that will make you find creative solutions. Turning off your LCD screen or using small SD cards could also be a trigger for finding more creative solutions.

      • #420083

        Good points Federico, I pretty much agree 🙂

      • #420098
        Kent DuFault

        Excellent suggestions!

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