I come from a creative family. My father was a painter, brother is a writer, nephews are movie directors and photographers. Creativity, to one growing up in my family, was something that happened naturally. It was not something to be worried about and fostered. We couldn’t stop ourselves from being creative. If it wasn’t about creating art, it was about creating pithy puns in our conversation.
Even now I don’t think about creativity much except to be marveled by it. When I’m out wandering around a lake, mountain, creek or wherever, I just allow myself to be marveled and let creativity take care of itself. I know from experience that I usually have no clue which photographs will turn out to be boring and which will be compelling. I’m just sure that both will be there. Some days they’re mostly boring and some days the opposite.
I expect that my relationship with creativity is different from many of yours, but that doesn’t mean you can’t develop the same kind of relationship if you want to.
I examined what took place and didn’t take place when I was being creative to see what was at work, What I observed is that creativity is a lot like love. Maybe all that creativity is, is an expression of love.
A lot is written about, thought about and filmed about falling in love, but most of it seems to ignore the expression itself. Falling in love. If one is falling what can one do. The term falling means that initially things are out of our control. And control, I believe, is the big issue here.
With falling in love there are issues with intimacy acceptance and self-acceptance. These issues are in the mind and the less power we give to our minds, the more ecstatic the experience will be. So, a big part of falling in love is falling out of our minds, falling out of our fear, and just letting the feeling and momentum take us where it takes us.
What keeps us from falling into creativity is similar. Creativity involves being inspired and just like love, being inspired requires being open without a lot of desires and fears weighing on our minds. Like love, creativity requires trust — trust that things happen in their own time, and that like love, creativity will happen.
I’m talking about creativity and inspiration, not technical ability. Having the knowledge to actualize what you see into a meaningful photograph is another topic. Technical ability has to be learned, inspiration is natural to us, we just have to trust ourselves and allow it to happen.
Just like we can’t make ourselves fall in love, we can’t make ourselves be creative. That can take a huge burden off of ourselves. There is no work to be done to be creative. If anything there is un-work.
We usually have all this stuff in our minds as some form of protection from humiliation or hurt, so this un-work involves un-doing this protection. We don’t have to be fearful that a mountain will think we’re too old or too fat. A flower doesn’t care how clever and intelligent we are. Capturing that landscape won’t get you that raise you’re hoping for. So, go out and relax, have fun. Love. That’s why we do it. If you’re out in nature, love the rocks, the grasses, the trees, the streams. In the city, love the sidewalks, the cars, the pedestrians, the buildings. What else is there to do.