Thinking about creativity in Cape May

This afternoon was the start of my Cape May Photographic Creativity Workshop and I have a great group of people. We spent a couple of hours talking about creativity and pushing ourselves beyond the obvious. I found a great quote from Picasso that goes something like “Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.” I can’t say that I understand most of Picasso’s paintings but that is the point, I don’t need to. We get so wrapped up in making sure that others like what we do that we drop into a formula that worked once and we force everything else into that same formula. We don’t try new things, we don’t try to fail, we only try to succeed the same way we did the last time.

When I started in photography I had to buy film and pay for processing, so it cost me money I didn’t have to make mistakes. Fortunately I worked as a newspaper photographer and shot pictures all day every day and I could make a safe picture and then try anything I wanted to see if it would work. I learned a lot more from my failures than I did from my successes. I still do. When I’m out shooting I try lots of different things and shoot a lot of bad photos. It doesn’t cost anything more than time and if I come back with nothing then the worst thing that has happened is that I had a great time being out of my office and being creative. 

Creativity really comes down to three things: exploring, discovering, and imagining. Wow, isn’t great to be able to go out with a camera in hand and worry about nothing other than exploring, discovering and imagining! Explore. Discover. Imagine. When I do that the result doesn’t matter, it is the journey. If I focus on the journey and explore, discover and imaging then it is amazing how many times great results pour in. 

After the classroom session we went out shooting near Cape May’s lighthouse. We finished the day by painting light on the lighthouse. I have a great big flashlight and illuminated the lighthouse well after sunset while there was a little light left in the sky. The long exposure made the clouds floating past look intense as stars and planets shined through the clouds. A great way to end the first day.

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