You can walk into the nearest camera shop and pick up a new camera body. You can go online and order a new lens or two. You can even unwrap a gift and discover a brand new speedlite. But nowhere in any of those boxes are you going to find creativity. It would be so nice if you could walk into a store, go up to the first sales lady you see, and say; “Excuse me Ma’am. Can you please show me where the boxes of creativity are? I’d like to buy a few.”
It just doesn’t work like that; you can’t get creativity in a box. For that you’ve got to get out of the box.
I have just gotten home from a week long trip that centered around the Kansas Professional Photographers Association 2018 Winter Expo. This year’s expo was filled with creativity and all of it came from talented individuals who definitely got outside the box and found their creativity.
As usual the Winter Expo kicked off with the judging for the state image competition. We watched as one creative image after another was opened for the judges to review. After each judge gave careful consideration to the twelve elements of a merit image a score was given and the next image opened. Over 130 images in all this year. That’s a nice group!
I entered 8 images in the competition this year, 4 in the Photographic Open, and 4 in the Artist competition. They received scores ranging from 76 to 79. Maybe I was lacking in creativity just a little this past year.
Once the competition was over the sharing of creativity began. We had great speakers again this year including Steve Ellinger and Brian DeMint. The creative ideas flowed throughout the weekend as we learned about working with modeling agencies and fashion photography, and about putting our own twist on images and getting out of that box.
I take a lot of notes at these Expos and once the expo is over I look back over them a time or two to absorb the information. Among my scribbly doodle filled notes this time were 4 words that describe the creative process; preparation, incubation, illumination, and verification. I wasn’t expecting a vocabulary lesson but that’s just what I got. And just what I needed!
- Preparation – the collection of resources and new ideas from everywhere!
- Incubation – the realigning of that preparation data
- Illumination – that Aha! Eureka!!!! moment when you know how it will all come together
- Verification – the manifestation of those ideas into the final form with effort and skill
It’s not only the speakers that we pick up creative tips from at these expos. Like our first vocabulary word tells us; there are new ideas everywhere. I picked up ideas from watching the competition judging, I picked up ideas from visiting with friends, I picked up ideas from conversations with mentors during quick breaks, and I picked up ideas over the dinner table in a room filled with creative individuals.
All those ideas are incubating and I do so hope that long before the next competition that old light bulb of illumination comes on and I hear myself shouting Eureka! just before it all comes together and manifests itself into a creative image to put before the judges next winter.
While those ideas are still incubating into a big old bag of creativity I figured I would play around with a few shots that I took during Brian DeMint’s lecture and workshop. -Talk about someone with creativity! You really should look him up sometime. The images of the 3 girls you see in this post were taken as I sat visiting at a table halfway across a large conference room from where Mr. DeMint and many of the KPPA photographers were working with the girls. I’m pretty sure that focusing your lens across a room, in-between the elbows of other photographers, and onto the faces of the models is using the old creativity. And I think just maybe I found a little creativity when editing these images. But maybe you should be the judge of that with a quick look at the before shots.
You don’t have to be a photographer to get out of the box and find your creativity. It will come in handy in whatever you do so get out there and take part in the preparation, incubation, illumination, and verification of creativity. Because until it comes in a box that you can buy; you’re going to have to make your own.