Ruminations - Part 9: Creative Genesis

Yep, that's me. Ruminating on the tundra. ©Scott Slone I’m trying a new, long form, blogging style in this post. I’ll be revisiting it often. I’m going to use it as a mental dump, a place to share some inner thoughts and discoveries. Although the topics that I’ll discuss here may not be purely or strictly ‘photographic’, they are deeper parts of me than I haven’t shared with the general public before. They do make me who I am today, as well as guide how I act in the future. Perhaps you will find some common ground with them, or something will resonate with you. If so, I hope you’ll chime in and leave a comment. 

Perhaps it is all TMI for you. That’s fine, I’ll have plenty of other blog posts with pictures of Alaska, tips, tricks, travel factoids, etc. that I think you’ll find fascinating. 
To each their own. 


Last night, after getting into bed, I mentioned to Jena that I needed to work on a new blog post for the morning. She wanted to offer some topic ideas, but I (gently) cut her short. Just like photography, my writing needs to be 'self-induced'.

Cobb: What do you want?

Saito: Inception. Is it possible?

Arthur: Of course not.

Saito: If you can steal an idea, why can't you plant one there instead?

Arthur: Okay, this is me, planting an idea in your mind. I say: don't think about elephants. What are you thinking about?

Saito: Elephants?

Arthur: Right, but it's not your idea. The dreamer can always remember the genesis of the idea. True inspiration is impossible to fake.


Everyone (and their mother) is writing about 'creativity'.

I must have read 6 blog posts about their take on creativity over the past 5 days. That's a good thing. Creativity is one of those elusive topics, and an even more elusive repeatable destination. According to some writers, they have it mostly figured out. Others agree that they believe it will never be truly understood.

I'm taking a different spin though.

What stops my creativity.

Of course, in the movie ('Inception'), Leonardo DiCaprio's character (Cobb) goes on to claim that inception is possible.
I side with Arthur in this argument. True inspiration can not be faked, or suggested.
I'd be willing to bet, as a photographer, you've likey had friends/family members/coworkers say, "You should photograph _____".
I've been traveling and shooting with friends (and fellow photographers) in the past, where they have suggested a composition to me.

For me, and for better or worse, this causes an immediate shutdown in creative expression.


It's not like they are trying to sabotage my creativity. They obviously believe that the subject is worth shooting, and they feel that I could do it appropriate justice.

But it is the 'elephant' in the scene. And I know its genesis. So I shut down. As an artist, I want to create. In order to create a piece, I need to be able to say 'I created this'. Not after someone else seeded that idea in my head, not with someone else's help with post-production ideas, and not by someone else's concept of printing method.

The art needs to be mine. Through and through. Yes, I have likely passed up images or writing topics that would have been quite successful/popular. But they would not have fully been mine.

Some would say that this is childish, and that I need to open my mind more. I won't argue that point.

This is my art. And as I've written before, it is a 'Selfish Art'.

Anything else is 'creation by proxy'.

Do you deal with these issues? Or am I alone in this dilemma?

What stops your creativity? I'd love to hear your comments!

Here are links to Ruminations – Part 1Ruminations – Part 2Ruminations – Part 3Ruminations – Part 4Ruminations – Part 5Ruminations – Part 6Ruminations – Part 7, and Ruminations - Part 8.