Lately I've been thinking a lot about the boiled down process of creativity, creative niches, and the ideological enclaves that these niches develop. Someone recently asked me what I wanted out of life, what I felt I needed in order to be happy and successful on my own terms. My response was simply this; I want to live a creative existence. It seems that this answer can be confusing. Does it mean that I want to be a poet, a photographer, a painter? Does it mean that I must focus on only one particular medium? No. What I mean by a creative existence is that my life is filled with varied creative enterprises and an innovative reach. Why would I want to limit myself only to photography, which I dearly love (Valentines day shout out!), when there are so many outlets waiting to be used, manipulated, and taken advantage of?
I've also been reading opinion pieces which suggest that within a certain medium a particular niche must be executed in order to find success. If you use a camera, you must only use a camera on food, or on weddings, because it's about focusing in on one thing that you do well and that's how you will find success. That train of thought, like the decision to be a poet or a painter only, is so limiting and it necessitates devolution of the creative process! Thinking about painting will influence how you think about taking a picture. Actually painting will inevitably alter your process as the two modes of execution are linked by a creative commonality. The same can and should be said for playing music, designing furniture, writing creatively, etc.
We're in a constantly developing world where fusion is a natural happenstance. With the development of new technologies and web based sharing come new avenues of artistic medium. From internet based artists to digitally crafted brands, there's a cohesion of mediums one must identify with in order to be viable and innovative, even if it's only to share your work with a broad audience. Along with the ease of shared information, inspiration also plays a large part in how we develop ourselves creatively. It's imperative that an individual is able to search out, identify and categorize, and think critically about what they're interested in. Ask the question - a personal example - is it important that the picture was shot on film? What gives that fact importance and is film better than digital? Should I only shoot on film and identify myself with its ideological enclave? Is doing so limiting?
If you're looking, inspiration is everywhere. In fact, often it can be too much. That's why it's important to be able to categorize and sort, but at the same time, at least for me, not to limit. If you didn't know, I produce and project manage for advertising and creative agencies. I chose this career path for the very specific ideas discussed in the paragraphs above. Production allows me to touch on a wide variety of projects, everything from video production to outsourcing illustrators, from the scoring of music, to acting, to graphic design and photography. Producing puts me in a position that is not limiting. Rather, I find inspiration in everything that I do and it helps me to live the creative existence I strive for.
To end, two examples citing aspects of film vs. digital photography to help you get inspired. Both have a place, strengths, and uses within the creative realm. One does not need limit the other.
Link 1: An interview with film photographer Brian Ferry. Film has a visceral emotion to it, a depth that is difficult to surpass or even match when shooting digital. Brian talks eloquently about this particular aspect of analog photography and his images, seen on his site, showcase it.
Link 2: On the other end of the spectrum, here is a "making of" video from a high budget shoot for Toyota Prius. Heavy concepting, studio propping, and post production work, set the stage for a really unique visual execution that strategically details the limitless boundaries of exactly what you can fit into a Prius.