On Creativity

This is a cut and paste from something I just posted in a flickr thread in which some people talk about what software will give “creative” colors, and other folks talk about how creativity is something that has to happen in the camera, before post-processing.

>Creativity isn’t something that happens in the camera anymore than it’s something that happens in a computer or in a darkroom. If someone uses textbook “good” composition, textbook “good” lighting, the “correct” depth of field, accurate exposure, and a standard subject, the result is not creative, any more than if they swap some colors in photoshop.

>Creativity is something that happens in the photographer, and it can make use of any tool to hand — whether that tool is the camera or a computer, or whether it means manufacturing a scene to shoot.

>However I would also caution that creativity is not necessarily a virtue, especially in a photographer. There are many fantastic photographs which are not “creative,” but are strictly documentary. They are a record of something which happened in the world. The photographer made the exposure, but they didn’t “create” the scene.

I really do think that much of what is good in photography has absolutely nothing to do with creativity. I would even perhaps go so far as to say that creativity is more likely to be a vice than a virtue when working in the photographic medium.

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