Information and Creativity
“To be truly creative, you have to work beyond what you know. Pushing the envelope is what
being an artist is all about.” -John Ferrie
Insights into some basic processes underlie problem solving, design, and innovation: (part 3 of 3)
Beyond the adequate. It is very easy to stop at the adequate solution to a problem, at the adequate design, at the adequate innovation. Our training and our thinking tools (the functional word NO) provide no incentive for going beyond the adequate. The difference between a good idea and a brilliant idea is often no more than that the brilliant thinker has been dissatisfied with the good idea and spent a little time going beyond it. After all, if you are satisfied then you spend no time at all going beyond this satisfaction point. Dissatisfaction may arise because the thinker is working to some other specification, or because he has some feel for such undefinable things as harmony, economy of effort, elegance, or simplicity. As soon as one realizes that the adequate is not the unique and final answer but only one way of doing things, then one has more incentive to regard it as a starting point rather than as a final objective. If there is time to go further, adequacy should never stop the creative effort.
Information and creativity. How much information does a creative person need? This is a very practical problem but a difficult one. At one end of the scale, there has to be a certain amount of information and experience in order to provide the building blocks for further thought. At the other end of the scale, is the person who is so full of information and experience that he is quite unable to escape from the old ideas in order to generate new ones. As soon as a new idea comes to his mind, such a person will be able to think of reasons why it should not work or how it has been tried out before and failed. Such a person would be quite unable to hold the sort of intermediate impossible that is so necessary for creativity. At one end an increase in information causes a greater increase in creativity. But a peak is reached. Beyond that peak more information inhibits creativity.
Lateral Thinking for Management
The Nature of Photographs
“Instead of just recording reality, photographs have become the norm for the way things appear to us,
thereby changing the very idea of reality and of realism." -Susan Sontag
The Nature of Photographs: (part 1)
How is a photograph different from an actual scene? What are the characteristics of photography that establish how an image looks?
How do photographs function? All photographic prints have qualities in common. These qualities determine how the world in front of the camera is transformed into a photograph; they also form the visual grammar that elucidates the photograph's meaning.
A photograph can be viewed on several levels. To begin with, it is a physical object, a print. On this print is an image, an illusion of a window onto the world. It is on this level that we usually read a picture and discover its content: a souvenir of an exotic land, the face of a lover, a wet rock, a landscape at night. Embedded in this level is another that contains signals to our mind's perceptual apparatus. It gives 'spin' to what the image depicts and how it is organized.
As an object, a photograph has its own life in the world. It can be saved in a shoebox or in a museum. It can be reproduced as information or as an advertisement. It can be bought and sold. It may be regarded as a utilitarian object or as a work of art. The context in which a photograph is seen effects the meanings a viewer draws from it.
By consciously adopting a visual style, a photographer can reference this context and bring these meanings to the reading of the image.
The Nature of Photographs