November 2016 – Lorne Resnick Photography Newsletter
logo
Nov, 2016
Facebook Twitter Pinterest Google+ Addthis

If you'd like to see more of Lorne's images please visit http://www.lorneresnick.com

For select 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 shooing in Cuba, available here. He also teaches travel photography workshops throughout the world.

Here's what's inside this issue:

1. When was the last time you had sexual intercourse? "Nineteen fifty eight".
2. "No" is the button that keeps us on.
3. Travel Photography Workshops: (Cuba, Africa, Los Angeles)

"A person might be able to play without being creative, but he sure can't be creative without playing." - Kurt Hanks

1. John Cleese On Creativity. Part II.

Gently Round The Subject:

So, now you know how to get into the open mode, the only other requirement is that you keep mind gently 'round the subject you're pondering.

You'll daydream, of course, but you just keep bringing your mind back, just like with meditation. Because, and this is the extraordinary thing about creativity, if you just keep your mind resting against the subject in a friendly but persistent way, sooner or later you will get a reward from your unconscious, probably in the shower later. Or at breakfast the next morning, but suddenly you are rewarded, out of the blue a new thought mysteriously appears. If you've put in the pondering time first.

Play with people you trust:

I think it's easy to be creative if you've got other people to play with. I always find that if two (or more) of us throw ideas backwards and forwards I get to more interesting and original places than I could have ever have gotten to on my own. But there is a danger, a real danger, if there's one person around you who makes you feel defensive, you lose the confidence to play, and it's goodbye creativity.

So always make sure your play friends are people that you like and trust. Be a good play friend too. And never say anything to squash them either, never say "no" or "wrong" or "I don't like that." Always be positive, and build on what is being said:

"Would it be even better if…"

"I don't quite understand that, can you just explain it again?"

"Go on…"

"What if…?"

"Let's pretend…"

Try to establish as free an atmosphere as possible. Sometimes I wonder if the success of the Japanese isn't partly due to their instinctive understanding of how to use groups creatively.

Westerners are often amazed at the unstructured nature of Japanese meetings but maybe it's just that very lack of structure, that absence of time pressure, that frees them to solve problems so creatively. And how clever of the Japanese sometimes to plan that un-structured-ness by, for example, insisting that the first people to give their views are the most junior, so that they can speak freely without the possibility of contradicting what's already been said by somebody more important.

Creativity is when two frameworks come together to create new meaning:

The very last thing that I can say about creativity is this: it's like humor. In a joke, the laugh comes at a moment when you connect two different frameworks of reference in a new way.

Example: there's the old story about a woman doing a survey into sexual attitudes who stops an airline pilot and asks him, amongst other things, when he last had sexual intercourse. He replies "Nineteen fifty eight." Now, knowing airline pilots, the researcher is surprised, and queries this. "Well," says the pilot, "it's only twenty-one ten now."

We laugh, eventually, at the moment of contact between two frameworks of reference: the way we express what year it is and the 24-hour clock.

Now, having an idea, a new idea, is exactly the same thing. It's connecting two hitherto separate ideas in a way that generates new meaning.

Now, connecting different ideas isn't difficult, you can connect cheese with motorcycles or moral courage with light green, or bananas with international cooperation. You can get any computer to make a billion random connection for you, but these new connections or juxtapositions are significant only if they generate new meaning.

So as you play you can deliberately try inventing these random juxtapositions, and then use your intuition to tell you whether any of them seem to have significance for you. That's the bit the computer can't do. It can produce millions of new connections, but it can't tell which one smells interesting.

Intermediate Impossibles:

And, of course, you'll produce some juxtapositions which are absolutely ridiculous, absurd. Good for you!

Because Edward de Bono (who invented the notion of lateral thinking) specifically suggests in his book PO: Beyond Yes and No that you can try loosening up your assumptions by playing with deliberately crazy connections. He calls such absurd ideas "Intermediate Impossibles."

And he points out the use of an Intermediate Impossible is completely contrary to ordinary logical thinking in which you have to be right at each stage.

It doesn't matter if the Intermediate Impossible is right or absurd, it can nevertheless be used as a stepping stone to another idea that is right. Another example of how, when you're playing, nothing is wrong.

So, to summarize: if you really don't know how to start, or if you got stuck, start generating random connections, and allow your intuition to tell you if one might lead somewhere interesting.


”I don’t really look at other people’s photographs at all. It takes enough time to look at my own.” – William Eggelston

2. Creative People Say No:

A Hungarian psychology professor once wrote to famous creators asking them to be interviewed for a book he was writing. One of the most interesting things about his project was how many people said “no.”…

Secretary to novelist Saul Bellow: “Mr Bellow informed me that he remains creative in the second half of life, at least in part, because he does not allow himself to be a part of other people’s ‘studies.’ ”

Photographer Richard Avedon: “Sorry — too little time left.”

Secretary to composer György Ligeti: “He is creative and, because of this, totally overworked. Therefore, the very reason you wish to study his creative process is also the reason why he (unfortunately) does not have time to help you in this study. He would also like to add that he cannot answer your letter personally because he is trying desperately to finish a Violin Concerto which will be premiered in the Fall.”

The professor contacted 275 creative people. A third of them said “no.” Their reason was lack of time. A third said nothing. We can assume their reason for not even saying “no” was also lack of time and possibly lack of a secretary.

Time is the raw material of creation. Wipe away the magic and myth of creating and all that remains is work: the work of becoming expert through study and practice, the work of finding solutions to problems and problems with those solutions, the work of trial and error, the work of thinking and perfecting, the work of creating. Creating consumes. It is all day, every day. It knows neither weekends nor vacations. It is not when we feel like it. It is habit, compulsion, obsession, vocation. The common thread that links creators is how they spend their time. No matter what you read, no matter what they claim, nearly all creators spend nearly all their time on the work of creation. There are few overnight successes and many up-all-night successes.

Saying “no” has more creative power than ideas, insights and talent combined. No guards time, the thread from which we weave our creations. The math of time is simple: you have less than you think and need more than you know. We are not taught to say “no.” We are taught not to say “no.” “No” is rude. “No” is a rebuff, a rebuttal, a minor act of verbal violence. “No” is for drugs and strangers with candy.

Creators do not ask how much time something takes but how much creation it costs. This interview, this letter, this trip to the movies, this dinner with friends, this party, this last day of summer. How much less will I create unless I say “no?” A sketch? A stanza? A paragraph? An experiment? Twenty lines of code? The answer is always the same: “yes” makes less. We do not have enough time as it is. There are groceries to buy, gas tanks to fill, families to love and day jobs to do.

People who create know this. They know the world is all strangers with candy. They know how to say “no” and they know how to suffer the consequences. Charles Dickens, rejecting an invitation from a friend:

“‘It is only half an hour’ — ‘It is only an afternoon’ — ‘It is only an evening,’ people say to me over and over again; but they don’t know that it is impossible to command one’s self sometimes to any stipulated and set disposal of five minutes — or that the mere consciousness of an engagement will sometime worry a whole day. These are the penalties paid for writing books. Who ever is devoted to an art must be content to deliver himself wholly up to it, and to find his recompense in it.

“No” makes us aloof, boring, impolite, unfriendly, selfish, anti-social, uncaring, lonely and an arsenal of other insults. But “no” is the button that keeps us on.

How to Fly a Horse: The Secret History of Creation, Invention, and Discovery
Kevin Ashton


Workshops

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

Cuba Workshop Cuba Workshop

Death Valley Workshop Death Valley Workshop

Monument Valley Workshop Monument Valley Workshop