About creativity and Fall Crawl Day 5

As part of the Fall Crawl we will stop by Abby’s blog today at http://dirtontherocks.com/. Abby shares a multitude of different life experiences on her blog, highly recommended.

As the title says, I wanted to write a little bit about creativity. Lately I really enjoy b&w abstract photography, because certain patterns or textures stand out and stand out differently in b&w instead of color. This got me thinking about how others point out “creative” or “artistic” individuals as some who were somehow born with the gift of artistry. Yet at the same time, there are classes in painting, drawing, or photography available. This implies that arts can somehow be learned after all.

To confuse matters further, the term “crafts” is also used sometimes interchangeably with “arts”. We talk about “good craftsmanship” of a building for example.

The apparent contradictions are resolved by establishing two layers of function to art: on one hand the “mechanic” aspects of an art form exist such as applying brush strokes to paper, or setting the camera correctly for the next exposure. This level of mechanic proficiency is often seen as “craft”. To mature as artist, the craft aspects are first practiced consciously, and then subconsciously. Most of us have experienced a similar process when we learned to drive. We first had to pay a lot of attention of how to accelerated or brake the car. After a while it became second nature. The understanding is that we store certain processes in the cerebellum, and thus they become “second nature”. Similar to learning how to accelerate and slow down the car we need a similar comfort level with our tools in the arts. In photography it needs to become second nature what settings to put in the camera, so we can focus on what we want the photograph to be about.

But what has all of this to do with creativity? Well, our tools are just that – tools. It comes down to what we want to say using our artwork. People who have something to say are seen as “creative”, because their art work resonates with other people’s life experience, yet appears unusual and refreshing from their perspective.

I oftentimes feel that my interest (or obsession) with photography helps me in my day job as a scientist to be “creative” when it comes to understanding data or solving problems. Of course when we analyze data, we look for patterns – big surprise, in photography we look for patterns as well.

I created the photograph for today’s post on a rainy Sunday afternoon at home, when I suddenly noticed a lot of patterns in our dining room.

And one more thing: while we call our blog “Crafts and Photography”, my wife Kim’s “crafts” are very artistic and I know she is an artistic and creative person.

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