Can one learn to be a creative photographer?

Discussion in 'Philosophy' started by Landrum Kelly, Apr 16, 2017.

  1. Why do you want to be creative? I know for me it's about getting "atta boys". It's about ego. I want to stand out. I want my pride to be stroked. I want my work to be different. So I can be unique in the world. Separated from the hoi polloi. I also shoot as a hobby, to take up time. To get out and enjoy the air. To capture beauty. Photography is art; aesthetic in nature, and there's nothing wrong with a calendar type picture to look at on the wall to take you away. What is creativity anyway?

    If you want to get atta boys, enlarge some of your better ones, especially ones of family, frame them, and then give them free to family and friends. I guarantee you'll get oohs and aahs and thank yous galore. And every time you visit their house, there will be your picture, framed, hung on their wall for you to see and make comments like, "Gee, glad you still have my picture up." And then watch their smiles and thanks. Again.
  2. I think passion is the key to creativity. I have been doing this for over 65 years and I never stop learning. In my case any creativity is the result of expanding my vision by spending time at my craft -- that means a lot of time looking at the work of my contemporaries and the classic artists. As with any skill it is practice that improves performance.
  3. I think/feel that you can learn to be creative.
    Some times it is as simple as just releasing yourself from "its always be done this way" mentality.

    For me it was exposure. Not being lucky to have it naturally in me, looking at GOOD art (drawing, painting, photo, etc.) gradually got my head to see things that I never saw before. To get new ideas. Why does a photo/painting/drawing look good; is it composition, color, perspective, mood, etc.?
    Example, going to the Museum of Modern Art exposed me to old photos, that then triggered an idea in me. The photos had motion blur, due to the SLOW film of the time. But that motion blur then gave me the idea of capturing the motion blur of water, which was something that I had not really though much about. click.

    Books have helped me to understand WHY certain images looked good. It is hard to duplicate a concept when I don't know the why, to do then do the how. I could then apply the same ideas when looking at a scene and knowing how to capture it. Also learning what to avoid. Example, one of the classics is concentrating so much on the subject, that you do not see the telephone pole growing out of the top of his head. Yes you can fix it in PhotoShop, but it would be a LOT easier to avoid the mistake before pressing the shutter button.

    Projects. Sometimes doing projects like "shoot a mail box," will cause you to REALLY LOOK at the mail box in different ways and that gets the creative juices flowing.

    Going shooting with a friend or group. Your friend may give you an idea that you had not thought of. Again learning.

    For me the hardest to be creative is with people.
    I am not an extrovert, so guiding and posing people has always been very difficult for me.
    Can an introvert learn to be an extrovert? Maybe not, but he can at least learn to move in that direction.
    DavidTriplett likes this.
  4. My two cents on creativity is this:

    Connect with the Creator in a sincere way. Grow your spiritual life and help others to the best of your ability.
    Always forgive. Always love, and God will certainly give some of the creative juices back to you. Who better
    to ask for creativity than our Creator… this is where my success comes from.
    Ray House likes this.
  5. The OP is curious about becoming more creative. Anyone can become more creative because "more" is relative to the current state of their creative mindset, not the aggregate of all creative people. Rather than defining creativity, which is a slippery slope, perhaps we can identify ways to become more personally creative?

    I think it all starts with a desire to create something different. To see something differently, to explore a different notion of something, someone, someplace, or some idea that already exists. The platitude that "there is nothing new under the sun" is mistakenly applied to creativity. The role of creativity is to forward some new way of intellectually, intuitively, and/or emotionally interacting with what is immutable.

    This suggests "purpose" is an underlying tenet of creativity. Fine artist do produce and publish their "Intent". As the early Cubist painters intuitively explored the concept, they formulated an intent to visualize "Time and Space" in a new way. Plus, they intended on it being seen ... as Picasso once said "A painting kept in the closet, might as well be kept in the head".

    The trouble dealing with personal photographic creativity today is that there are billions of images everyone can access almost instantly. How can one hear themselves think with such a visual cacophony? I think it is a matter of introspection to bolster belief in your own uniqueness, and then taking an outward view of that which is part of your world see as only through your eyes.
    michael_darnton|2 likes this.
  6. Can one unlearn to be creative?

    What might one give up or lose? . . .

    Foregone conclusions
    Income, wives, sanity (lol)

    And have drugs played a role . . . from absinthe to opium to LSD?

    Of course, Dali said:
  7. . I guarantee you'll get oohs and aahs and thank yous galore. And every time you visit their house, there will be your picture, framed, hung on their wall for you to see and make comments like, "Gee, glad you still have my picture up." And then watch their smiles and thanks. Again.

    I hesitate to put a negative vibe on this, but families and friends are notoriously uncritical. What happens if you go around to see family or friends and your donated pictures are nowhere to be seen? Should you be crushed or simply put it down to their inability to appreciate your genius, or maybe they simply like other things more? I would not really expect my extended family to put up a shot of, say, Grand Canyon that I had shot and they did not experience. I think searching for acclamation might be a driving force for many photographers but it is no guarantee of creativity. A better test is really to let complete strangers judge them without prejudice: even then you need you inner confidence to manage any rejection - hence the prickly hides of some artists.
  8. Hence the enormous egos and thick hides of so many architects...:p
  9. >>> Can one learn to be a creative photographer?

    Yes, of course. I've witnessed this with others many times over the years in photography and in other creative activities as well.
  10. Norman 202

    Norman 202 i am the light

    or, to take it a stage further back, what has stopped Lannie from becoming creative?
  11. I think you've gotten some really good advice, particularly in the first couple of responses. I would add that you might find it helpful to look at your own work and try to decide why you feel it falls short, develop a short list of things you should possibly be doing differently, and then go out and try to change those aspects of what you do. There are a lot of things that are purely mechanical that can lead to more artistic results if you learn to integrate them into how you approach subjects.because they force you to look at your subjects differently.
  12. "One" is as an indefinite, impersonal, formal pronoun.

    Compare to . . . "Can you learn to be a creative photographer?" or "Can I learn to be a creative photographer?" or "Can we learn to be creative photographers?" or "Can creativity be learned?"

    Can such differences of grammatical phrasing relate to making photos?
  13. Speaking of grammatical phrasing and photo making, pretend to use the Photoshop clone tool and please clone out the word "as" in my first sentence above. Or don't, and live with imperfection!
  14. Lannie my friend. Give yourself credit for setting a goal and examining what you have done. I look back at something and decide, hey, that guy didn't do half bad at that. Since I respect my judgment over time ( gained by looking at works I admire and much meditation and head stands) I am not dissatisfied. But if I were totally satisfied then the creative process would become like computer assisted machining and be programmable. As long as I am ineffable ( I hope that is the right word) then I do not get a hernia over the question. Creativity has always been helped by some mind altering drinks. Don't you feel,Lannie, that the Lascaux wall painters were fermenting kickapoo joy juice before the mixed ochre. So I say l'chaim. And be satisfied with modest gains. Or not,up to you.
  15. Thanks, Phil. I went to the link you offered. Although the writer is more of a motivational writer than anything else, I found his remarks to be quite useful.

    I think that I am just at a low place right now, but the question as posted still stands.

    Last edited: May 1, 2017
  16. Lannie, as an exercise, may we play with one of your pictures? This one, in particular? Out of that scene, what each of us would close in on to shoot, and/or what kind of crop we'd use? Make it a creative exercise? Or maybe someone else wants to post a wide shot where we can talk about what we'd choose to zero in on out of a prospective scene ... or not. I can see that you closed in on the SUV and signage.
  17. Well, Julie, you may do what you want with it. The exposure was not good, nor was the post processing. I think I processed it in Irfan after my laptop with CS5 bit the dust. (I have since moved to Adobe CC, for what that's worth.) Maybe someone can do something with it.

  18. I actually like your shot as it is. It's not fancy, and I like it for that reason. I find pleasure in just standing there with you contemplating the small, familiar scene. With a door.

    But then ... let me think about all the juicy bits that invite me to experiment out of the scene, as if I were there with you, shooting. Would you prefer only verbal description or may we post edits of the picture?

  19. Feel feel to post edits, Julie. I'm glad you like it. I would like to see what someone else might do with it. It was taken on February 19, after my sixth visit to Linville Gorge in less than a month--mostly collecting lots of uninspiring files of rock faces (which I intend to use for hiking/"climbing" purposes).

  20. Goody! I love this kind of exercise. Give me twenty-four hours to let it marinate. My first ideas usually suck.

    I saw all your mountain shots and I have the deepest sympathy for you shooting those. They are so exciting and so evocative and so totally un-photographable. Been there done that and will keep on doing it ... West Coast landscapers have no idea how frustrating our side of the continent is. So redolent and so everywhere and nowhere all at the same time.

Share This Page