It’s a delightful anchor to have, this thing we call creativity. But when life concerns press down, it’s often the first thing cast aside. Learn to make creativity your refuge, and it will be your inventive breakthrough..
I’m always looking for angles of thought that renew my personal take on fostering creative approach to photography and postproduction. The Kelley brothers, Tom and David, have a new book called “Creative Confidence”. Random House, $18.34 on Amazon, or library loan as the major content is examples from business. But then aren’t photographers business people too?
The bros themselves look a little like the Car Guys in their PR portrait. We love them! David is the founder of IDEO, the corporate think tank for product and service innovation in industry. Tom authored “Unleashing the Creative Potential within us all”. Having seen a TV interview with them, I was eager to review this book.
To the artist-creative, the initial take may be, like mine, that much of the information is axiomatic. But I stuck with the whole book and gleaned some sharable thoughts. Here is my take on the applicable, salient points that are valuable to our profession.
“What we control is our edges; that’s where creativity happens.” Direct quote from the book, but what does it mean exactly? A different way of expressing “think outside the box” or “push the boundaries”. The though is a bit new, because it introduces the concept that “edges” are where we can exercise control, not just free thinking. Honing the edge…
“Passion for your work does not preclude [or eliminate] practice. It [creativity] demands effort.” This is not an exact quote, but my take is that the statement refers both to the 10,000 hours to become proficient in anything as well as that great artists work daily to perfect, preserve, and push their craft forward to new levels. I’ve spent my whole career striving to make what I do look effortless.
“Creativity is the result of many failures.” My explanation: what the public calls creativity is the experimentation, the trials, the multiple directions and branches of an idea that occurred before the rollout. A huge undertaking that makes the final product look magical.
“The best failures are quick, cheap and early.” This I really love, because it tells you not to be afraid to try something out, to segment a project into manageable bits and not to wait ‘til the last minute to experiment. Nobody ever turned in the first draft of a PhD project; it will go through many iterations over time.
Building or arranging a good workspace brings out the creative animal. My interpretation of the Kelley’s description of how they recommend altering traditional corporate cubicles to foster thinking on the edges. This idea should be second nature to artists, but think again how you could rearrange your environment – the physical or mental – to eliminate distractions, roadblocks and clutter. Workspace challenges are well illustrated in the text.
I ask myself, “Are thinking and creativity close to synonymous?” We know that thinking is really not taught or fostered in school – unless you happen to find an extraordinary teacher, one of a kind, and then as a student you are extremely lucky. Then follow that teacher, no matter the subject. What is thinking? Noticing, perceiving, remembering, researching, comparing and contrasting, analyzing, applying intelligence to task.
The Kelleys end with my favorite line, “Creativity = dreams with deadlines.”
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