Looking into the Light_Cover_smaller

An exercise too late for the book Looking Into The Light.

“I write to find out what I have to say.” Charles Wright

That’s how creativity works. You can try to conceptualize it all you want, but when you begin, it starts to come out differently different … if your lucky. Even if you do it all wrong, you learn more than you ever would by thinking.

That’s why exercises function as the heart of my workshops, and new ones occur to me all the time, so many that I never get to a fraction of them in a class.

The best of them literally take you beyond yourself. When that happens, you suddenly wake up way past whatever it was you thought you were going to do.  You’re like a kid who is learning to ride a bicycle and looks back to see the parent you thought was running beside you and steadying you standing 50 yards back and grinning. And you realize that you’ve been riding your bike and balancing just fine on your own.

That’s what I want out of an exercise.

This summer an idea came to me in the middle of a workshop. I told people to go out, wander around, and make photographs of a place where something had happened. That was it.

My thought was that at least it might get people to really pay attention and just be where they were, see the light, the energy, see what the place felt like. Then they could make some pictures.

So off they went to spend a rainy afternoon working this out, and the next morning we gathered to screen the pictures. When the first ones came up I got a surprise. People had actually written down the thing that they felt might have happened. And the things they had written down completely charged the pictures, and ignited the classes imaginations. They were like short clips from films, and they made you want to see the rest of it.

Here’s one. You’ll see what I mean.Picture 1_Michelle Elloway

I think this one with the swings was the first up, and the menace and sadness that grew out of the picture of these children’s playthings was palpable. Everyone felt the dark possibilities in it.

Here are a few more …

Picture 2_Antelo Devereux

Picture 3_Kemal Berk KocabagliWhat I loved about what people did was that they took ordinary situations into their imaginations and made the pictures suggest stories without telling them. They left plenty of space for viewers to complete them in their own minds.  We all became participants.

So there it is, the perfect kind of exercise. It was kind of like finding a mushroom with a note that said Eat me.

Find out more about Sean Kernan’s ebook Looking Into The Light here.

Find out more about Sean Kernan here.

Looking into the Light_Cover_smaller

“Years ago I stumbled on what felt like a secret door into creativity in photography. The secret is that photographers don’t need to hope that creativity will turn up. It’s there in us. Creativity is not something we do, it’s something we are…all the time.” says Kernan.

Sean Kernan has spent more than 30 years investigating ways that photographers find and use creativity. And all that insight now fills a workshop-in-a-book, Looking into the Light: Creativity and Photography, now available as an iBook.

Kernan’s book offers ways to get to that creativity for photographers at every level, bright beginner to jaded professional. It looks past cameras and technique to focus on our awareness. “We work on our awareness of all the things that happen before the click, which I’m convinced is where the wonder of our best seeing comes from.”

The book gives a series of concrete assignments that stimulate the visual imagination and change our pictures. The sign that they’re working is when we get a hit of the excitement we felt the first time we took a photograph that was way beyond anything we thought we could do.

The exercises are gathered from many areas—music, theater, writing—and they all involve simple things we already know how to do. We can use them to make better photos, or just to see more deeply into what is around us. The goal is to make pictures that talk to the world, not just to other photographers. As Jay Maisel put it, “You want to take more interesting pictures? Be a more interesting person!”

Looking into the Light illustrates the exercises with work from a distinguished group that includes John Paul Caponigro, Greg Heisler, Cig Harvey, Jay Gould, Dennis Darling, Adam Arkin, poet Gregory Orr, Ed Young, Paul Cezanne, Edgar Degas, Sol LeWitt, William Kentridge, and Sir Joshua Reynolds. There’s an iconoclastic essay on portraits by Duane Michals and links to interviews with Duane and Robert Frank.

To support reader’s efforts, the author has created a companion website at www.lookingintothelight.com, where readers can find further articles, watch instructive videos, and upload and share their own work on the assignments.”

Read 20 Questions with Sean Kernan here.

Novelist Amy Tan digs deep into the creative process, journeying through her childhood and family history and into the worlds of physics and chance, looking for hints of where her own creativity comes from. It’s a wild ride with a surprise ending.

View more Creativity Videos here.

Browse Creativity Quotes here.

Ira Glass of “This American Life” talks about the building blocks of a great story.

View more Creativity Videos here.

Read Creativity Quotes here.

Quotes_Invention

Here’s a selection of my favorite quotes on invention.

“…to invent is to discover that we know not, and not to recover or resummon that which we already know” — Sir Francis Bacon

“To understand is to invent.” — Jean Piaget

“Inventing is a skill that some people have and some people don’t. But you can learn how to invent.” — Ray Dolby

“I do not think there is any thrill that can go through the human heart like that felt by the inventor as he sees some creation of the brain unfolding to success.” — Nikola Tesla

“Doubt is the father of invention.” – Galileo Galilei

“Want is the mistress of invention” – Susanna Centlivre

“Necessity, the mother of invention” – Richard Franck

“Mothers are the necessity of invention.” – Bill Watterson

“I don’t think necessity is the mother of invention. Invention, in my opinion, arises directly from idleness, possibly also from laziness – to save oneself trouble.” – Agatha Christie

“Name the greatest of all inventors. Accident.” — Mark Twain
“I never did anything worth doing by accident; nor did any of my inventions come by accident; they came by work” – Thomas Alva Edison

“Invention is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration” – Thomas Alva Edison

“Stumbling upon the next great invention in an ‘ah-ha!’ moment is a myth.” – James Dyson

“Human subtlety will never devise an invention more beautiful, more simple or more direct than does nature because in her inventions nothing is lacking, and nothing is superfluous.” – Leonardo da Vinci

“Nature is the source of all true knowledge. She has her own logic, her own laws, she has no effect without cause nor invention without necessity.” – Leonardo DaVinci

“Every science has for its basis a system of principles as fixed and unalterable as those by which the universe is regulated and governed. Man cannot make principles—he can only discover them.” — Thomas Paine

“All creation is a mine, and every man a miner. The whole earth, and all within it, upon it, and round about it, including himself … are the infinitely various “leads” from which, man, from the first, was to dig out his destiny.” — Abraham Lincoln

“To invent, you need a good imagination and a pile of junk.” — Thomas Alva Edison

“Inventing is a combination of brains and materials. The more brains you use, the less material you need.” — Charles F. Kettering

“Invention presupposes imagination but should not be confused with it.” — Igor Stravinsky
“No amount of skillful invention can replace the essential element of imagination.” – Edward Hopper

“Only an inventor knows how to borrow, and every man is or should be an inventor.’ — Ralph Waldo Emerson

“I invent nothing, I rediscover.” – Auguste Rodin

“Invention, strictly speaking, is little more than a new combination of those images which have been previously gathered and deposited in the memory; nothing can come of nothing” – Joshua Reynolds

“I invented nothing new. I simply combined the inventions of others into a car. Had I worked fifty or ten or even five years before, I would have failed.’ — Henry Ford

“Too often we forget that genius, too, depends upon the data within its reach, that even Archimedes could not have devised Edison’s inventions” – Ernest Dimnet

“I’m an inventor. I became interested in long-term trends because an invention has to make sense in the world in which it is finished, not the world in which it is started.” – Ray Kurzweil

“An invention that is quickly accepted will turn out to be a rather trivial alteration of something that has already existed.” — Edwin Herbert Land

“Inventor, n. A person who makes an ingenious arrangement of wheels, levers and springs, and believes it civilization.” — Ambrose Bierce

“Where a new invention promises to be useful, it ought to be tried” – Thomas Jefferson

“The production of too many useful things results in too many useless people.” — Karl Marx

“We believe that if men have the talent to invent new machines that put men out of work, they have the talent to put those men back to work” – John Fitzgerald Kennedy

“It is questionable if all the mechanical inventions yet made have lightened the day’s toil of any human being.” — John Stuart Mill

“In the modern world we have invented ways of speeding up invention, and people’s lives change so fast that a person is born into one kind of world, grows up in another, and by the time his children are growing up, lives in still a different world” – Margaret Mead

“I must create a system, or be enslav’d by another man’s.” — William Blake

“Our inventions mirror our secret wishes.” — Lawrence George Durrell

Find more Creativity Quotes here.

Discover more quotes daily in my Twitter and Facebook streams.

One of the world’s most influential thinkers Edward de Bono the father of ‘lateral thinking’ shares many insights on creativity.

View more creativity videos here.

Reading_425

Looking for good books? Browse my Recommended Reading lists.

Topics include …

Creativity, Color, Graphic Design, Digital Photography, Photography Appreciation, Photography Theory, Photography Business, Important Thoughts, Cultures, Climate Change, Meditation and Journaling.

If you’re looking for great books on these subjects look at these books first.

Yes, these lists are missing some of the  important classics in these fields that are less accessible and require more effort. Essential, clear, actionable – these are the criteria I’ve used for this selection.

These are some of the books that have changed my life. One of them might change yours too.

Enjoy!

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This growing collection of videos on creativity includes content from many fields – photographers, writers, musicians, scientists and kids. Use this list to dive into what I think is the most fascinating field. Check back in the future for new additions to this list.
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With so many great videos to choose from where do you start?
My top picks are red.
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J J Abrams – The Mystery Box
Ray Bradbury – Telling The Truth
Julie Burstein – 4 Lessons In Creativity
Tim Brown – Tales Of Creativity And Play
Ben Cameron – The True Power Of The Performing Arts
John Paul Caponigro – You’re More Creative Than You Think
Candy Chang – Before I Die I Want To
John Cleese – On Creativity
Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi – On Flow
Edward De Bono – 5 Videos On Thinking Creatively
Nancy Duarte – The Common Structure Of The Greatest Communicators
Kirby Ferguson – Embrace The Remix
Neil Gaiman – Finding Your Life In Art
James Geary – Metaphorically Speaking
Elizabeth Gilbert – Nurturing Creativity
Malcolm Gladwell – On Success
Robert Greene – Creative Mastery
Sheena Iyengar – The Art Of Choosing
Steve Jobs – How To Live Before You Die
Stephen Johnson – Where Good Ideas Come From
David Kelley – How To Build Your Creative Confidence
Austin Kleon – Steal Like An Artist
Charles Limb – Your Brain On Improv
Beau Lotto – Science Is For Everyone, Kids Included
Bobby McFerrin – On Improvisation
Kerry Mullis – Celebrating The Experiment
Chris Orwig – Getting Better At Photography Fuels Innovation
Howard Rheingold – On Collaboration
Matt Ridley – When Ideas Have Sex
Sir Ken Robinson – Education Revolution
Andrew Stanton – Clues To A Great Story
Adora Svitak – What Adults Can Learn From Kids
Amy Tan – Where Does Creativity Hide ?
Don Tapscott – Four Principles For The Open World
Julian Treasure – 5 Ways To Listen Better
Benjamin Zander – Music And Passion
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Read new additions to this collection here.

View The Essential Collection Of Creativity Quotes here.

0_CreativityQuotes

Your sure to find inspiration in this growing list of Creativity Quotes collections. You’ll find great thoughts from many cultures, eras, and disciplines in these collections. Click on this list of links to explore quotes by topic. Check back in the future for new additions to this list.
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Find more quotes daily in my Twitter and Facebook streams.
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Abstraction
Art
Artist
Awareness
Beauty
Beginning
Clarity
Connected
Creativity
Curiosity
Dedication
Direction
Discovery
Dreams
Experimentation
Exploration
Focus
Goals
Gratitude
Imagination
Imperfection
Influence
Insight
Inspiration
Invention
Light
Motivation
Opportunity
Optimism/Pessimism
Originality
Passion
Perception
Perspective
Photography
Planning
Play
Purpose
Questions
Reputation
Seeing
Service
Story
Travel
Vision
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Read new additions to this collection here.
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View The Essential Collection Of Creativity Videos here.
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Host James Day speaks with Ray Bradbury about his career, the importance of fantasizing, his aspirations as a young child, his dislike of college for a writer, his idea of thinking compared to really living, and his love of the library.

Science fiction author Ray Bradbury regales his audience with stories about his life and love of writing in “Telling the Truth,” the keynote address of The Sixth Annual Writer’s Symposium by the Sea, sponsored by Point Loma Nazarene University. Series: Writer’s Symposium By The Sea

Author Ray Bradbury joins Dean Nelson of Point Loma Nazarene University for a talk about his craft as part of Point Loma Nazarene University’s Writer’s Symposium by the Sea. Series: “Writer’s Symposium By The Sea”

View more Creativity Videos here.

Read more Creativity Quotes here.


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