“Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep.”—Scott Adams
Over the past several years, my personal photography has enjoyed a sort of renaissance. This burst of creativity is sometimes the topic of dinner table conversations between Mary and me. She alternately credits a change in camera brands from the system I’d been using or a change in my home and office environment to the home and community that we moved into five years ago. 1996.
Certainly living and working here on, what I like to call, Daisy Hill has renewed my interest in a personal assignment of documenting my world that I began in Baltimore in 1971 but I think improvements in digital imaging technology could be another catalyst. How can hardware and software increase or help a person’s pursuit of creativity? Here’s just a few ways that new digital tools have sparked my interest in making and sharing new images:
- Immediacy: When I open an image in Adobe Photoshop (sorry, I’m not a huge fan of Lightroom, although many of my friends swear by it) any changes that I make in color, contrast, or composition happen right now on my 5K iMac’s screen. This immediacy translates into the ability to experiment and exploration without wasting time. I firmly believe that trying something new—even if it turns into a disaster—can stimulate a person’s creative reflex.
- Flexible Materials: Using an ink-jet printer gives me access to an incredible variety of papers that has not been possible in the traditional darkroom for some time—unless you coated your own papers. Selecting a paper surface that matches the type of image you are printing becomes part of the creative process and heightens the image’s ultimate impact.
- The Internet: The World Wide Web lets me share images with others in ways I could never have imagined when I worked with the first digital imaging software in 1990. The Internet lets me communicate with photographers around the world as well as share images with friends and family. This in turn leads to a motivation to create more and better photographs.
Any burst in creativity that’s happened to me or is happening to you also comes from inside. Your vision is also affected by inner and physical health. Whether it’s a new camera system, new home, or new digital imaging technology or a combination of all three of these factors, I’m glad to have the chance to share my thoughts with all of you here each day on the digital imaging tips, tools, and techniques I find useful.
For another approach to creativity, read my friend Rick Sammon’s book Creative Visualization for Photographers, which is available from Amazon and all of the usual suspects.