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Creativity

In the process of writing this short post for 1/125 I did a quick self-google to verify my suspicion that I had already posted about this same interview.

As it turns out, I did, but on an old, now-defunct personal blog that I had mostly forgotten about. I won’t shame myself by linking to it here. I only mention it at all, because I notice that I was already thinking, in 2007, about the problem of creativity in photography, and my intuitions then are pretty congruent with my conclusions now — which is interesting, because on a whole lot of photography-related topics, me in 2007 was a completely different person from me in 2010.

I don’t think of photography as a creative art (I don’t generally stage pictures or engineer situations for taking them), but more as an analytic craft, like non-fiction writing; it is more a matter of peeling away what does not belong than of putting in what does….

I’m probably being influenced right now by some of the thinking I’ve been doing about photography and non-fiction writing. Excluding the form of photography where you build stuff just to take pictures of it, neither is a “creative art” in the sense of causing or even pretending to cause something “new” to be. The point is not to create the newest thing but to make as clear as possible (not necessarily as accurate; that’s another, more loaded issue) a description of something that already exists.

In fact, I might go so far as to say this perception/determination regarding the non-creative nature of photography may be the closest thing to a unifying theme (Minor White’s “thin red line” — no, because it is not unique to me) that extends from almost the beginning of when I started to use a camera with intent to the present.

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