Be Creative: Manifesto

Part 1 of 2

I am beginning to feel more and more like a defender of the creative dharma. In all of my classes and workshops on photography I utter the phrase repeatedly, “you cannot purchase your way to being a better photographer.”

A photograph is everything that happens before the snap of the shutter. I do mean everything; every book that you read, every movie that you watch, every walk that you have taken, every conversation that you have had. A photograph is the history of the person holding the camera, a true perspective.

A photographer is only a photographer for his ability to see. To truly see the world though a lens equally physically, mentally and spiritually; this is how to create. Photographs evolve on their own, a photographer has to evolve to keep the creative dharma alive.

Photography is not “wait and see”. So many times I watch budding photographers shooting in Auto mode and critique their photos after capture. A photo is not a remix of what the computer inside your camera took. The purpose of a photograph is to create the image you want, not to wait and see.

I have started to ask the question: is the digital age making us less creative?

It seems that we are in a culture of mash-up and re-mixes of yesterday’s works. A culture of how to react without ever placing effort into the original act of creating a photo, or whatever medium you chose to work in.

The digital age has been a blessing for me, don’t get me wrong, I do not want to go back to the analog age (except for albums, bring them back) and I definitely do not want to go back to the darkroom or even film. Still the question that I raise is, “is our dependence on technology to fix things killing our will create things?”

More times than not I get asked the question for a “how-to map” on how to fix things after capture than I do on how to create things in camera. There is no map, only a journey.

Great things come out of crap. Believe it. A great cellist can play beautiful music on a crap of a cello. A pristine instrument is preferred, but the music is in the hands, mind and heart of cellist. Why should it be any different for a photographer?

It does not matter how smart our machines-computers-camera have become. Photography is about the person holding the camera, not the machine. People create, machines warehouse our work.