If you'd like to see more of Lorne's images please visit
previous Museletters, go here.
This Museletter is about creativity in all its forms. It includes
excerpts, stories, quotations and various musings designed to educate,
motivate, inspire and to be pondered & enjoyed.
As well as shooting commercial projects on location and in the studio
for advertising clients, Lorne has recently published a fine art photo book on his 20-years of shooting in Cuba, available here. He also teaches travel
photography workshops throughout the world.
Here's what's inside this issue:
1. Climbing the Mountian
3. Travel Photography Workshops: (Cuba, Africa, Los Angeles)
I don't follow any system. All the laws you can lay down are only so many props to be cast aside when the hour of creation arrives.
How To Be Creative. Part 3 of 5
Everybody has their own private Mount Everest they were put on this earth to climb:
You may never reach the summit; for that you will be forgiven. But if you donʼt make at least one serious attempt to get above the snow line, years later you will ﬁnd yourself lying on your deathbed, and all you will feel is emptiness.
This metaphorical Mount Everest doesnʼt have to manifest itself as “Art.” For some people, yes, it might be a novel or a painting. But Art is just one path up the mountain, one of many. With others, the path may be something more prosaic. Making a million dollars, raising a family, owning the most Burger King franchises in the Tri-State area, building some crazy over-sized model airplane, the list has no end.
Whatever. Letʼs talk about you now. Your mountain. Your private Mount Everest. Yes, that one. Exactly.
Letʼs say you never climb it. Do you have a problem with that? Can you just say to yourself, “Never mind, I never really wanted it anyway,” and take up stamp-collecting instead? Well, you could try. But I wouldn’t believe you. I think it’s not okay for you never to try to climb it. And I think you agree with me.
So it looks like youʼre going to have to climb the frickinʼ mountain. Deal with it. My advice? You donʼt need my advice. You really donʼt. The biggest piece of advice I could give anyone would be this: “Admit that your own private Mount Everest exists. That is half the battle.”
The more talented somebody is, the less they need the props:
Meeting a person who wrote a masterpiece on the back of a deli menu would not surprise me. Meeting a person who wrote a masterpiece with a silver Cartier fountain pen on an antique writing table in an airy SoHo loft would SERIOUSLY surprise me.
Abraham Lincoln wrote The Gettysburg Address on a piece of ordinary stationery that he had borrowed from the friend in whose house he was staying. James Joyce wrote with a simple pencil and notebook. Somebody else did the typing, but only much later. Van Gogh rarely painted with more than six colors on his palette.
Thereʼs no correlation between creativity and equipment ownership. None. Zilch. Nada.
Actually, as the artist gets more into his thing, and as he gets more successful, his number of tools tends to go down. He knows what works for him. Expending mental energy on stuﬀ wastes time.
A fancy tool just gives the second-rater one more pillar to hide behind.
Which is why there are so many hack writers with state-of-the-art laptops.
Which is why there are so many crappy photographers with state-of-the-art digital cameras.
Which is why there are so many unremarkable painters with expensive studios in trendy neighborhoods.
Hiding behind pillars, all of them.
Pillars do not help; they hinder. The more mighty the pillar, the more you end up relying on it psychologically, the more it gets in your way.
Successful people, artists and non-artists alike, are very good at spotting pillars. Theyʼre very good at doing without them. Even more importantly, once theyʼve spotted a pillar, theyʼre very good at quickly getting rid of it.
Good pillar management is one of the most valuable talents you can have on the planet. If you have it, I envy you. If you donʼt, I pity you.
Sure, nobodyʼs perfect. We all have our pillars. We seem to need them. You are never going to live a pillar-free existence. Neither am I.
All we can do is keep asking the question, “Is this a pillar?” about every aspect of our business, our craft, our reason for being alive, etc., and go from there. The more we ask, the better we get at spotting pillars, the more quickly the pillars vanish.
Ask. Keep asking. And then ask again. Stop asking and youʼre dead.
How To Be Creative
We tried all the systems that had been tried before, then we tried our own systems and we tried some combinations that no one had ever thought of. Eventually, we flew.
The Myths of Creativity. Part 3 of 3
The Cohesive Myth:
If you look at the most innovative companies in the world, it’s easy to see signs of cohesion. However, the most innovative companies and teams build conflict into their creative process. While steps need to be taken to make sure criticism stays task focused (not people focused), research suggests that even brainstorming as a technique is more beneficial when teams debate ideas. Conflict is a sign that new ideas are being suggested; cohesion is often a sign that there are no new ideas.
The Constraints Myth:
When we’re stuck on a creative challenge, it can become easy to place blame on our constraints. If we had more resources or less specific requirements, then our creativity could really soar. The truth is that creativity is highest in a constrained environment. Researchers found that individuals are more creative after engaging in tasks laden with obstacles and roadblocks. That’s why many of the most creative companies build limitations into their projects. Constraints help us by giving structure to the challenge we are trying to overcome. Without that structure, there is no understanding. Without that understanding, there is no solution. Creativity doesn’t just love constraints; it thrives under them.
The Mousetrap Myth:
We’ve heard the saying, “If you build a better mousetrap, the world will beat a path to your door.” The truth is that if you build a better mousetrap, the world will either beat it down or ignore it. History is filled with innovative ideas being rejected when they were first presented. Kodak invented the digital camera and never marketed it. Xerox invented the personal computer and handed it off to Apple and Microsoft. Harry Warner, of the Warner Brothers, first saw the technology that would allow talking movies and rejected it saying, “Who the hell wants to hear actors talk?” Psychological research suggests that we actually have a bias against creative ideas. The most innovative companies know they don’t need to make their people more creative, they need to get better at recognizing the creative ideas their people have.
There is a gap between what we think we know about creativity and innovation and what research and history actually tells us. There is no shortage of books on how to be more creative or how your company can innovate more. All of these books seek to meet a need. Few would dispute that our society needs more creativity and our organizations need more innovation. So we turn to books that promise simple tips or proven methods to leveraging creativity. But what if it’s not about creative thinking methods? What if it’s about how we think about creativity?
All of us hold on to a system of beliefs. Many of these beliefs have developed into a mythology about creativity. This mythology started with good intentions and sincere attempts to explain where creative ideas originated and how best to implement them. But many of these myths of creativity are plainly false. They aren’t supported by research or history, and in some cases what we’ve found about creative efforts directly contradicts the myths we choose to believe. Any model or method for creativity based on the mythology will offer little help in making us more creative. If we want to develop more creative individuals, and build more innovative companies, then we need to questions our models. We need to destroy the myths of creativity.
The Myths of Creativity
The Art of Travel Photography:
How to Create Emotionally Compelling Travel Images
Join Lorne as he teaches you the keys to creating emotionally
compelling nature, landscape, people, wildlife and travel images. This
limited selection of unique workshops, geared toward every participant
skill level, will provide you with an exceptional learning experience
in some of the most beautiful places on Earth, including Cuba and
Africa. To see Lorne's entire workshop schedule for his Art of Travel
Photography workshop series, please visit http://www.lorneresnick.com/workshops