Here’s a 35-minute lecture by English actor and comedian John Cleese on the topic of creativity. A couple interesting points: creativity is absolutely unrelated to intelligence and is more a way of operating than an ability.
(via Boing Boing)
Lavatory Self-Portraits in the Flemish Style is a spontaneous portrait project that photographer Nina Katchadourian started while traveling by plane in 2010. Here’s her account:
While in the lavatory on a domestic flight in March 2010, I spontaneously put a tissue paper toilet cover seat cover over my head and took a picture in the mirror. The image evoked 15th-century Flemish portraiture. I decided to add more images made in this mode and planned to take advantage of a long-haul flight from San Francisco to Auckland, guessing that there were likely to be long periods of time when no one was using the lavatory on the 14-hour flight. I made several forays to the bathroom from my aisle seat, and by the time we landed I had a large group of new photographs entitled Lavatory Self-Portraits in the Flemish Style. I was wearing a thin black scarf that I sometimes hung up on the wall behind me to create the deep black ground that is typical of these portraits. There is no special illumination in use other than the lavatory’s own lights and all the images are shot hand-held with the camera phone.
Some people just have to flex their photographic muscles regardless of where they are…
Singapore-based photographer Aw Zinkie‘s photo series “Republic of Pulau Semakau” explores the idea of a trash bin being an essential part of an individual’s personal space, and a way of examining their identity. Her portraits show the subjects in their personal environments with their faced replaced by held up trash bins. The series also highlights issues of waste management in Singapore, and the fact that every individual’s trash causes them to become a “founder” of the offshore Semakau Landfill.
Lee has often worked without a specific project in mind, simply making pictures of what he saw, in order, as Garry Winogrand said, to see what it looked like photographed. This way of working led him to look at his contact sheets (of which there have been an astonishing number) to find out what was there that he might not have expected. His shadow, and more clearly defined versions of himself, turned up with regularity. At some point early on Lee realized that he was making self-portraits along with many other photographs that were defining a new landscape for all of us who saw his work. There is a great lesson in this for photographers of today who dedicate themselves to one project or another, failing to understand that the best work might come from an obsession with the medium rather than the personally oriented choice of what might be done with it. Lee always has a camera with him and is constantly making pictures. How much better the work of today might be if all the young and dedicated photographers took up this habit.
If you’re in a creative rut and can’t think of a “project” idea, don’t worry — just be obsessed with photography itself and constantly be ready to photograph what interests you.
Image credit: Self Portrait Series – Untitled 4, Barcelona (2012) by Mooglio
Everything is a Remix is a fascinating four-part video series by filmmaker Kirby Ferguson that explores the concept of creativity, and how everything created has some degree of copying, transforming, or combining of old ideas. While the series isn’t specifically directed towards photographers, the ideas are quite relevant to the discussion of “original” work.
Address Is Approximate is a beautiful and creative stop-motion video by Tom Jenkins of Theory Films. Here’s the one-sentence synopsis:
A lonely desk toy longs for escape from the dark confines of the office, so he takes a cross country road trip to the Pacific Coast in the only way he can – using a toy car and Google Maps Street View.
No CGI was used — all the animation you see in the video was done by hand and captured on a still photograph using a Canon 5D Mark II!
Here’s another cool example of what’s possible when you combine creativity with an insane amount of dedication: animator Jonathan Chong spent hundreds of hours creating this stop motion video for the song “Against The Grain” by the Australian band Hudson. He animated everything by hand, and captured 5125 individual photographs of 920 pencils for the three-minute long finished product.