Saturday, October 3, 2015

Childlike Mind & Photography

Forgotten Doll - Mojave, California
"Adults are logical thinkers. Adults like order. Adults have preconceived notions. Children are not that way. Children don't have the experiences yet that tell them there are limitations. They have not yet been told 'you can't do this, you can't do that' and 'you shouldn't do this, you shouldn't do that.' Creative people must channel that inner child." --Ritchie Roesch
It's funny, in school we are taught to check boxes, follow standardized procedures and stay inside the lines. As adults, outside-the-box thinking is a coveted commodity. Outside-the-box thinking is essential to creativity. I think that children are naturally creative thinkers, and that we often stifle that creativity by forcing them to fit some mold.

Knowledge is both a blessing and a curse. Knowledge is both good and bad.

Knowing how to correctly expose a photograph is good. Knowing what makes a photograph great is good. Knowing too much about gear, composition rules and locations are curses.

How are those things curses?
On The Moon - Mojave, California
Too much knowledge about gear will make one too concerned about things that don't matter. Tiny differences in things like dynamic range and corner sharpness have no real-world impact on photographs, yet people get consumed by those very things. It is amazing how much time and money is spent on gear, yet it is actually pretty difficult to find crappy cameras and lenses anymore. Almost every camera made today is more than good enough to create great images with. And the equipment that actually is crappy is coveted by a sub-genre of photography called lomography.

Too much knowledge about photography rules gets in the way of creating great photographs. Photography rules are meant to guarantee consistently good results, yet rarely allow for great results. Great results happen when the rules are ignored.

Too much knowledge about a location can make one think that they know everything worth photographing at that location. It is amazing what a fresh pair of eyes can see. Every so often I find something in my own yard worth photographing that I never noticed before. At familiar locations it is beneficial to imagine that it is your first time at that location.

Children are curious and imaginative. Their world is full of amazement and endless possibilities. As photographers we should find our childlike mind. We shouldn't be less concerned with knowledge and more concerned about creativity.

Note: This is a republished article from one year ago. I thought it was worth the reminder.

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