Showing posts with label concepts. Show all posts
Showing posts with label concepts. Show all posts

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

CREATIVITY - A Kick in the Seat of the Pants

Like its predecessor, this not directly a book about photography. No megapixels were hurt in its creation. But is is a valuable tool for idea generation that can translate into better photographs.

A Kick in the Seat of the Pants is the second book by Roger von Oech, author of 
"A Whack on the Side of the Head." The concept of WHACK was "...we're all born with the ability to think about things in original ways, but as we grow up, we develop attitudes that undermine this creativity." von Oech then goes through steps and exercises to expand your thinking.

It this second book, he explores the fact that there are different ways of thinking. This ground has been covered in different ways by people like 
Ned Hermann, Carl Jung and Myers-Briggs.

von Oech treats the four modes of thought as the Explorer, the Artist, the Judge and the Warrior. We have aspects of all the above characteristics in our personalties, but he explores how each contributes to the creative process. Photographers that are "socially conscious" will approach their craft very differently than say a "Fine Art Printer." Their brains are wired differently.

One actionable tip: Put a waterproof slate in the shower with a grease pencil. Many people get their best ideas in the shower. I use a SCUBA Diving slate.  
This was a GREAT idea from the book that I use every day. Most of the ideas I get are of course Photo related.

Click here to see my photos that were inspired by Sarah Palin and the Tea Parties. I wrote the ideas on the slate so I wouldn't forget.

You can purchase the book here.

Click here to see the first article on A Whack on the Side of the Head.


Saturday, April 17, 2010

CREATIVITY - The Decisive Moment

Creativity, its source and those who wrote about it have been one of my hot topics this year.  Creativity is always important, but I have been trying to synthesize the writings of those who most inspired me in the hopes of really putting the concepts into action and by extension, becoming a better photographer.

Henri Cartier-Bresson is without a doubt, one of my earliest influences.  Cartier-Bresson was famous for the concept of “the decisive moment  "Photography is not like painting," Cartier-Bresson told the Washington Post in 1957. "There is a creative fraction of a second when you are taking a picture. Your eye must see a composition or an expression that life itself offers you, and you must know with intuition when to click the camera. That is the moment the photographer is creative," he said. "Oop! The Moment! Once you miss it, it is gone forever."  (

I especially like this quote:
"My contact sheets may be compared to the way you drive a nail in a plank," he said. "First you give several light taps to build up a rhythm and align the nail with the wood. Then, much more quickly, and with as few strokes as possible, you hit the nail forcefully on the head and drive it in."

I took the photo above using the same philosophy.  After 10 minutes of stalking and shooting the school of Plotosis catfish in Sulawesi, Indonesia, this scene revealed itself with perfect alignment.

... For me, the camera is a sketch book, an instrument of intuition and spontaneity, the master of the instant which - in visual terms - questions and decides simultaneously. In order to "give a meaning" to the world, one has to feel oneself involved in what he frames through the viewfinder. This attitude requires concentration, a discipline of mind, sensitivity, and a sense of geometry. It is by great economy of means that one arrives at simplicity of expression. One must always take photos with the greatest respect for the subject and for oneself.  

... To take photographs is to hold one's breath when all faculties converge in the face of fleeting reality.

... "It is at that moment that mastering an image becomes a great physical and intellectual joy."   

...It is putting ones head, one's eye and one's heart on the same axis.

...It is a way of life.

 You can purchase the book here.

See another of my images that used his "Decisive Moment" concept.  It is the one with the two cats and the red door frame.  A variation on the above theme of the build up, there was ONLY time for one shot before the bottom cat moved. Shot in Padova, Italy.