What’s In The Bag?

The Collector © Knut Skjærven

The Collector © Knut Skjærven

Happy New Year. A new year is threatening, or is it?

Suppose that you actually could move in, in these early months of 2013, and take a firm hand on things you want to happen to you later on in the year. Let’s say about the last weeks in June. Why not?

Is such a procedure feasible. Or completely unrealistic.

Let’s look in another area. The area of getting up in the morning and making sure that you make it to the airport in time. Or the train station.

You set all your clocks including your smartphone. Just to be on the safe side you set your subconscious, as well.

When I do this, I set the clocks e.g. to 06.00 a.m. and the subconscious awakener to 05.50 a.m. to get up in good time and stop the clocks before they alarm the rest of the household.

Does it work? Definitely it works even if the inner alarm sometimes is not this precise. It might give me an hour warning in stead of the ten minutes that I have asked for. I can live with that. My point is that it is rather seldom that I have to rely on the clocks to get me out of bed in time for early travel.

Big jump but a similar story: Did you know that research have detected that creative/innovative people in all wakes of life roughly work along the same patterns? The know they are leaving, they set the clock and their smartphones, they go so sleep and they awaken with an idea just in time.  Details can differ, of course, but these are the rough lines that carry innovation and creativity.

We will make a distinction here. A distinction between BIG creativity and SMALL creatively.

When you mix the ingredients in the paella in a completely new way to make the family happy and the kids ready to go for it as well, that would be SMALL creativity. Nothing wrong with that, but it only makes waves within a smaller area. Rocking the local boat only

If you take a fixed camera, remake is much smaller and even invent lights rolls of films to go with it, that would be BIG creativity. That makes waves from coast to coast wherever there is water. As is did in the thirties when street started to get clever.

Where does photography come into it? Are there tools here that can be distilled and go in the bag for clever photography? Even for clever street photography? Tools for the tool bag?

I think there are. Let me come back to that in a second.

First let us look at the ingredients in the partial subconscious partly conscious creative awakener. The words could vary dependent on your sources, but the contents are the same. There are many roads to this particular Rome.

Creative processes evlove along these lines:

1. Collecting The Material / Preparation / Conscious Stage

You need to be serious about it and spend time on gathering lots and lots of information. Write down the vision about what you want to do, and get yourself mentors. Dead or alive. Creativity comes in small steps and not in big jumps. Resources for photography are obviously the other arts and or the life world in general.

2. Material Work Over / Marinating / Unconscious Stage

Let it all sink in and make sure that all the other information and experiencers  you have in life now take an active part in marinating the idea your plan, your ambition, your idea. You have to set the compass right.

3. Go Dancing/ Incubation / Unconscious Stage

Go occupy yourself with something totally different. Go dancing, why not? Go do anything you like and make sure that you have a good time and lots of fun. Don’t believe that you have to come from a bad childhood to be inventive. Or have a bad time later in life either. If you don’t like what you are doing do something else.

 4. The Awakening / The Grand Idea Appears  – Check It Out / Conscious Stage

One day, when your are on something different the idea, or even the ideas, emerge. You suddenly have got a preliminary answer to you challenge. You’re not goind to be absolutely sure that it is the right idea that pops up so you have to check it. Unhappy with it, you simply do it all over. It might work.

Creativity is much more of a rolling wheel than a sudden hole in the wall. It is a question about what you’ve got in the bag.

Back to the question: Does this work in photography as well? In a way, the questions has already been answered since this is a basic model for how creative work unfolds. So my answer will be, yes it works in and around photography. Why don’t you give it a try. The bigger the bag the bigger the bang.

But I am not sure if photography, in the meaning of taking pictures, is an area for BIG or for SMALL creativity. Maybe it is both. You tell me :-).

Happy New Year.

© Knut Skjærven. All rights reserved: text and picture.

January 3, 2013.

Let me remind you of  The Workshop to be held in Berlin June 20 – 23, 2013. 


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