“A creative block is a fear about the future, a guess about the dangers dwelling in the dark computer and the locked studio.” -Eric Maisel
The Five Fundamental Types of Blocks to Creativity:
Perceptual blocks "are obstacles that prevent the problem-solver from clearly perceiving either the problem itself or the information needed to solve the problem."' Typical examples include accepting as facts information that is really unsubstantiated assumption, recognizing that you have a problem without identifying the true underlying causal problem, coming to the problem with a set notion of what the problem really is about despite information you might encounter to the contrary, focusing on only a small part of the problem or too much of the problem, focusing on solutions rather than defining the problem, assuming that you can apply what works in one discipline to another when in a particular case it does not apply, information overload, and failure to use all of your senses.
Emotional blocks are those that "interfere with the freedom with which we explore and manipulate ideas, with our ability to conceptualize fluently and flexibly and prevent us from communicating ideas to others." Doris J. Shallcross labels these as psychological barriers. These are very common and often serious blocks. They include: the fear of failure, of making a mistake, and of risk-taking; the inability to tolerate ambiguity, having no appetite for chaos; being too quick to judge; the inability to relax, incubate ideas, or sleep on it; distrust; inflexibility; and negative attitudes towards new ideas.
Cultural blocks are those acquired when we are exposed to a set of cultural patterns. They are the do's and don'ts of a culture. They include taboos, the belief that fantasizing and reflecting are wastes of time, beliefs that logic and reason are inherently good while intuition and qualitative judgments are inherently bad, the belief that any problem can be solved by scientific thinking and enough money, too much conformity, the belief that it is not good to be too inquisitive, the desire for the safety of the known, stereotyping, and the belief that problem solving is serious business and that humor and having fun are to be avoided.
Environmental blocks are those imposed by our immediate physical and social environments. From a business perspective, the organization's culture is the primary consideration. If you have creativity and put it in the right organizational culture, then an organization will be innovative. The absence of either creativity or the right culture precludes innovation from taking place. There are at least eight areas of concern: organizational-strategy, structure, management systems, leadership style, staff, resources, shared values and organizational skills. Each of these helps define the culture. Among the more critical issues to a blockage of creativity and innovation are: the absence of objectives for creativity and innovation, both organizationally and individually; a rigid, mechanistic, authoritarian structure; no or few rewards for being creative or innovative; autocratic managers who value only their own ideas; an absence of training; no or little organizational support for creativity and innovation; no successes to build on.
Intellectual blocks result from an inappropriate choice of mental approaches or an unwillingness to use new solution approaches. Because of this, our ability to generate alternatives is limited. These roadblocks include using only techniques which worked before; over reliance on logical, left-brain thinking; reluctance to use intuitive techniques; and the inability to abandon the unworkable approach.
Escape from the Maze: 9 Steps to Personal Creativity
James M Higgins
“When I am working on a problem I never think about beauty. I only think about how to solve the problem. But when I have finished, if the solution is not beautiful, I know it is wrong.” -Buckminster Fuller
The Depictive Level: Flatness - part I of IV
Photography is inherently an analytic discipline. Where a painter starts with a blank canvas and builds a picture, a photographer starts with the messiness of the world and selects a picture. A photographer standing before houses and streets and people and trees and artifacts of a culture imposes an order on the scene - simplifies the jumble by giving it structure. He or she imposes this order by choosing a vantage point, choosing a frame, choosing a moment of exposure, and by selecting a plane of focus.
The photographic image depicts, within certain formal constraints, an aspect of the world.
On the depictive level there are four central ways in which the world in front of the camera is transformed into the photograph: flatness, frame, time, and focus.
These four attributes define the picture's depictive content and structure. They form the basis of a photograph's visual grammar. They are the means by which photographers express their sense of the world, give structure to their perceptions and articulation to their meanings.
The first means of transformation is flatness. The world is three-dimensional; a photographic image is two-dimensional. Because of this flatness, the depth of depictive space always bears a relationship to the picture plane. The picture plane is a field upon which the lens's image is projected. A photographic image can rest on this picture plane and, at the same time, contain an illusion of deep space.
Some photographs are opaque. The viewer is stopped by the picture plane.
Some photographs are transparent. The viewer is drawn through the surface into the illusion on the image.
In the field, outside the controlled confines of a studio, a photographer is confronted with a complex web of visual juxtapositions that realign themselves with each step the photographer takes. Take one step and something hidden comes into view; take another and an object in the front now presses up against one in the distance. Take one step and the description of deep space is clarified; take another and it is obscured.
In bringing order to this situation, a photographer solves a picture, more than composes one.
The Nature of Photographs