PHOTOGRAPHY IS NOT CREATIVE…

by Staff July 28, 2016 at 9:09 am

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41 Comments

  1. Hi Ted, not sure if this is a hang-up or a handicap, but before i get into it I want to give background context. Before I was a photographer I was what we call in New Zealand a tramper (hill walker, mountain walker) and I would amble through the wilderness for days at a time, just enjoying. I would return from these trips refreshed on every conceivable level, and years later, I can recall many specific details from each trip. Now, as a photographer, on limited time, I plan everything to the nth degree in order to increase my chances of returning with a keeper. Sunrise, sunset, tide timings, recon, google images, etc etc etc. The end result? I am all planning, all technical and I do not often feel bonded to the land I am standing on as I once did when tramping without a camera, which in so many ways is heartbreaking. It isn't always this way thankfully, and the photos I have taken which seem to resonate the most are those taken when I was in-situ for two or so days, relaxed, and bonded. Am I making any sense here??

  2. Yes bring in non photographers! Especially musicians…. the relationship of sound & silence is certainly akin to our light & shadow. A student at a W. Eugene Smith lecture complained that Smith only talked about music that day. Smith's response? "What goes for one goes for the other". Just last night I re-watched a Keith Jarrett dvd and he stated "Music doesn't come from music" and went on to explain about the importance of life's experiences for a musician. And I thought virtually everything he said would be applicable to photography as well….time to drag out those LP's & CD's again before I go out to shoot ;-)

  3. A great idea to involve other artists and creative individuals; there's a near obsessive coverage of kit, equipment and 'what's in my bag' stuff and too little on photography itself. Personally, I'm fascinated by the transition involved in what one sees and what one wants to portray when creating a photograph (which I've long since considered involves the post-camera work as much as releasing the shutter).

  4. Wonderful video as usual! A confession to share here. I was never in to photography. I am a musician and an engineer. Just to get break from music, I started watching some random photography stuff on YouTube and came across this channel. The composition series moved me a lot and for the first time I really felt someone was talking about art involved in photography and got hooked to this channel. Only after that I started borrowing my friend's DSLR and taking images. It's been a value addition in my life.

    I really welcome this idea of having other people on show.

    About limitations in photography, my first and most important challenge is that I don't have any direction to progress. I don't know what should I shoot next. So if there is an assignment or some challenge, it will give me direction to move.

    Eagerly waiting for photo assignment.

    Thank you, Ted!

  5. Great idea to include other creatives! We have a long running program on Belgian TV that's called "The Canvas Connection" (de Canvasconnectie: http://www.canvas.be/tag/fotografie) that allows the viewer to meet with artists who are busy creating new work. Besides their own work the artists also take the time to reflect on the work of other creatives that intrigues or fascinates them. It's really interesting to hear their thoughts on work of similar and other creatives!

  6. Yes, bring in other people who can show us their passion for their respective fields.

    I get stuck (I am struck at times) at times with a sense of futility about photography….that its all been said before and my representation of a reality is in no way unique, just derivative of other photographers who have gone before. This comes from a pedestrian subject matter ( as a quirky juxtaposition of elements in random street photography ) or an application of post processing that immediately brings to mind Mr.Parr or Mr. Saudek and there I am thinking that there's nowt new under the sun and why the fuck do I bother with this at all???
    Then I remind myself that the road less traveled may be the one that reaps the larger reward so I have to journey further (perhaps physically in the real world, but certainly internally around my head) and HOPE that something can be found.
    (at the very least to leave behind me a large body of work my children can look at, to see where I once stood, to regard what I once witnessed)

  7. Ted, You invited a dialog about something that may be a boundary, limitation, or struggle with photography. While looking for opportunities to create photographs, I also actively study leading photographers past and present. I feel that a photograph can work like a poem. It can provoke an emotional response like an anthem. Like a good poem or song, it should be a clear idea, with layers of meaning. It can follow traditional rules of composition, or it discard the plotting mind, express an impulse and leave you disoriented. The photographs of Minor White described in Manifestations of the Spirit can be described this way. Robert Adams photographs are described as poetic. I like the photographs of a young British photographer named Jack Davidson because they disorient me. So this is my struggle: I feel that too many of my photographs are pictures of objects, where I am documenting the appearance of a thing. Ansel Adams describe pre-visualizing how that thing would be represented in a print, and I think I have been aiming for a print that represents how I saw the object. Sometimes, I look for the "punctum" that pierces through the reality shown in the photograph. Sometimes I look for a story of something that has happened or that is about to happen, as Michael Kenna describes. Still, I worry that my search for deeper meaning in photographs does not come across in the final image and what I have is a formula for showing pretty things. There are other struggles, but they all mean less to me. I would enjoy your exploration of the creative process with dancers, poets, painters, writers, musicians, or maybe even something unexpected, like a quilter. This would expand on the "art" in Art of Photography. Thanks.

  8. Hi Ted, I'm in my mid-thirties, and resigned from my job 18 months ago to take on the at-home-parent role to our little tiger. I've had a fantastic time, and in that time, my passion for photography has become an obsession. I do have a fantastic model!

    This week I started photo school and am working towards a career change. The creative aspect to photography is my foremost interest however, and my first classes have assured me that I will surely be challenged.

    I think I am making my way through the wilderness, as in your story.

    I've begun working on my first assignment which is 'joiner' photography and have taken on inspiration from a favourite song of mine, that I listened to on the way home from class. If you don't know it, give it a listen. It's A Perfect Circle's cover of When the Levee Breaks. Brilliant.

    I think the creative process transcends art and can be useful in many aspects of our lives. I reckon your idea of incorporating various artists to inform photo assignments is excellent.

    Cheers!

  9. Great as always, I think it is a great idea. But please leave the myths of religion out of it!"Real" creators of almost any other subject would be most welcome.Thanks, Geoff, Aust.

  10. 1) I think it would be very beneficial to have opinions and insights from other artistic fields/ realms. 2) Stumbling blocks: accepting my current gear is good enough given the amount of new tech coming out. It's tough to resist the urge to "upgrade". 3) Thanks for keeping the videos coming!

  11. Yes to non-photographers. Cross pollination is the key to diversity of thought/ideas. Go nuts, get the guy/gal on your garbage truck to present an assignment. The more out there, the better!

    Also, when you do photographers, get a variety of backgrounds: photojournalists, portrait folks, wildlife photogs, wedding photogs, fine arts people. Really mix it up so we are challenged.

  12. Great video Ted, love what you're doing. I'm totally open to having a variety of guests on your show. Perhaps, occasionally we need something outside the medium of photography (per say) to get those creative juices flowing. As an artist/photographer I often listen to music, or look at artwork for inspiration…I think the same may work for photography.
    I like the story you told of your Jewish friend…in today's instant society the story of the Exodus helps to put things in perspective. Creativity comes from the heart and sometimes the heart needs some creative food before we can be inspired to create great photography. Take care ~ Dave

  13. great idea to bring in other guests, I have at times over the years tried my hand at painting, clay and sketching just to do what you are talking about to open up the mind and juice the creative thinking.

  14. There are a few roadblocks that keep me from working to my full potential as a photographer. The first and most noticeable, is when I burn out of photography itself. There's an easy fix to that for me, and that is shooting analog. However, there are a few things that make that difficult sometimes. Not only is shooting and printing film expensive, but it also is very time consuming. Also, like any treatment/medication, shooting film could no longer suffice as an outlet for creative thought if I shoot too much film. In other words, I might grow a tolerance to it and it wouldn't help as much with promoting creative thought. Secondly, I've just about shot my entire area that I live in. I live in a very rural area, and I don't have a car or any reliable transportation to and from places to shoot pictures. Not only have I beaten the dead horse in my own neighborhood when it comes to taking pictures there, but I'm also finding it very hard to take pictures that aren't duplicates of some of my older work. I'm only 16, so I should have enough to buy a crappy car within the year, but I don't want to permanently burn out before then. That would really suck.

  15. So it is not the photograph for that is merely an image, but the creative part lies in the image, or rather in what the image represents. The photograph is a instant of creative art captured…to be held for an artist to share.?

  16. yes, good idea on non-photographers. it is always good to have an outside pair of eyes to give an opinion.  I'm for it. And I loved the wilderness story. Thanks!

  17. Great analogy! I needed to hear this. And also I have been stuck for a while now. My biggest stumbling blocks is trying to be different. How do I find my style? How to separate myself from all these instagramers. Lol. Not hating I love them lol. My biggest question is, when do you call yourself a Photographer? I guess it doesn't matter as long as you're enjoying it.

  18. I'm really happy about this video. Great source of inspiration, thank you Mr Forbes!
    To answer your questions I would be happy to hear non photographer creative people. there is always a lot to learn from anyone and that would be wonderful!
    question n2 : my problem is I'm never ever happy about what I do. I think I don't have a "style" of mine and no idea about what it could be, even if some friends say that they can recognise my photos between other photos. And I never feel satisfied about my photos. Even when people tell me they are very good….I always feel there is something missing. and I would like to start it again…

    thank you so much for your wonderful channel Mr Forbes. greetings from Italy!

  19. This is something I would love to see. Cross pollinating vision, perspective, backgrounds, ideologies…it's a rabbit hole of endless discoveries. Can't wait to see how it evolves!

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