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
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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.
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”
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Here’s a selection of my favorite quotes on influence.
“People exercise an unconscious selection in being influenced.” – T. S. Eliot
“To be realistic one must always admit the influence of those who have gone before.” – Charles Eames
“The superior artist is the one who knows how to be influenced.” – Clement Greenberg
“Every art, like our own, has in its composition fluctuating as well as fixed principles. It is an attentive inquiry into their difference that will enable us to determine how far we are influenced by custom and habit, and what is fixed in the nature of things.” – Sir Joshua Reynolds
“A young painter who cannot liberate himself from the influence of past generations is digging his own grave.” – Henri Matisse
“Picasso once remarked, ‘I do not care who it is that has or does influence me as long as it is not myself.’” – Gertrude Stein
“I am not influenced by the techniques or fashions of any other motion picture company.” – Walt Disney
“I don’t believe in learning from other people’s pictures. I think you should learn from your own interior vision of things and discover, as I say, innocently, as though there had never been anybody.” – Orson Welles
“The only real influence I’ve ever had was myself.” – Edward Hopper
“Add new painters to your list of favorites all the time.” – Irwin Greenberg
“We are shaped and fashioned by what we love.” – Goethe
“The strongest influences in my life and my work are always whomever I love. Whomever I love and am with most of the time, or whomever I remember most vividly. I think that’s true of everyone, don’t you?” – Tennessee Williams
“We don’t make a photograph just with a camera, we bring to the act of photography all the books we have read, the movies we have seen, the music we have heard, the people we have loved.” – Ansel Adams
“There are so many moments and works that influence us in what we do. Movies, music, TV and, most importantly, the profound everydayness of our lives.” – Barbara Kruger
“The influences may be subliminal and subtle but all that surrounds us in some way changes how we see things and who we are.” – Martine Gourbault
“Movies can and do have tremendous influence in shaping young lives in the realm of entertainment towards the ideals and objectives of normal adulthood.” – Walt Disney
“Advertising reflects the mores of society, but it does not influence them.” – David Ogilvy
“The only books that influence us are those for which we are ready, and which have gone a little farther down our particular path than we have yet got ourselves.” – E. M. Forster
“I have been influenced by paintings I have seen in books, and in museums, not because they defined success but because they suggested possibilities.” – Eleanor Blair
“There is a boundary to men’s passions when they act from feelings; but none when they are under the influence of imagination.” – Edmund Burke
“Every thought which genius and piety throw into the world alters the world.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
“Ideas are the mightiest influence on earth. One great thought breathed into a man may regenerate him.” – William Ellery Channing
“The influential man is the successful man, whether he be rich or poor.” – Orison Swett Marden
“When it comes to developing character strength, inner security and unique personal and interpersonal talents and skills in a child, no institution can or ever will compare with, or effectively substitute for, the home’s potential for positive influence.” – Stephen Covey
“The humblest individual exerts some influence, either for good or evil, upon others.” – Henry Ward Beecher
“You don’t have to be a ‘person of influence’ to be influential. In fact, the most influential people in my life are probably not even aware of the things they’ve taught me.” – Scott Adams
“There is no pebble so small that it won’t make ripples when tossed into a body of water.” – Charles Peck
“Any one of us can be a rainbow in somebody’s clouds.” – Maya Angelou
“And as we let our own light shine we unconsciously give other people the permission to do the same.” – Marianne Williamson
“Think twice before you speak, because your words and influence will plant the seed of either success or failure in the mind of another.” – Napoleon Hill
“It takes tremendous discipline to control the influence, the power you have over other people’s lives.” – Clint Eastwood
“A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops.” – Henry Adams
“The influence of each human being on others in this life is a kind of immortality.” – Winston Churchill
“Be around the people you want to be like, because you will be like the people you are around.” – Sean Reichle
“Be around people who have something of value to share with you. Their impact will continue to have a significant influence.” – Jim Rohn
“We never know which lives we influence, or when, or why.” ― Stephen King
“It would be difficult to exaggerate the degree to which we are influenced by those we influence.” – Eric Hoffer
“Influence is to be measured, not by the extent of surface it covers, but by its kind.” – William Ellery Channing
“The most powerful moral influence is example.” – Huston Smith
“Example is not the main thing in influencing others. It is the only thing.” – Albert Schweitzer
“Setting an example is not the main means of influencing another, it is the only means.” – Albert Einstein
“There is no influence like the influence of habit.” – Gilbert Parker
“Affluence means influence.” – Jack London
“A return to first principles in a republic is sometimes caused by the simple virtues of one man. His good example has such an influence that the good men strive to imitate him, and the wicked are ashamed to lead a life so contrary to his example.” – Niccolo Machiavelli
“Neither a man nor a crowd nor a nation can be trusted to act humanely or to think sanely under the influence of a great fear.” – Bertrand Russell
“In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.” – Dwight D. Eisenhower
“The time has come for all evangelists to practice full financial disclosure. The world is watching how we walk and how we talk. We must have the highest standards of morality, ethics and integrity if we are to continue to have influence.” – Billy Graham
“The most hateful human misfortune is for a wise man to have no influence.” – Herodotus
“I hold that a strongly marked personality can influence descendants for generations.” ― Beatrix Potter
“The purpose of influence is to “speak up for those who have no influence.” ― Rick Warren
“Once you’ve found your own voice, the choice to expand your influence, to increase your contribution, is the choice to inspire others to find their voice. Inspire (from the Latin inspirare) means to breathe life into another. As we recognize, respect and create ways for others to give voice to all four parts of their nature–physically, mentally, emotionally/socially, spiritually–latent human genius, creativity, passion, talent and motivation are unleashed. It will be those organizations that reach a critical mass of people and teams expressing their full voice that will achieve next-level breakthrough in productivity, innovation and leadership in the market place and society.” – Stephen Covey
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Why don’t photographers collaborate more often?
Collaboration is how we get through the day. Most of us have some kind of interactive support; from partners, teachers, friends and family. It is also commonplace in science and the arts. From Marie & Pierre Curie through Rogers and Hammerstein to Picasso & Braque inventing Cubism. Andy Goldsworthy even enlists the land as his partner.
Chris Orwig delivers an inspring Google Talk about how photography fuels innovation.
Read/view more about Chris on this blog, including his TED talks here.
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I’d been scanning the iceberg struck horizon for hours when suddenly the clouds grew thin enough to let the sun through for a brief moment. The sun and the light it cast on the surface of the water completed the picture. It was there only for a moment. And then it was gone.
There are so many moments like this in life. In these times, there’s a narrow window of opportunity and only those who stay alert recognize them and are able to take full advantage of them. Of course it helps to have the right tools for the job and solid training, good instincts, and fast reflexes. But none of these will do you any good if you aren’t aware enough to recognize the many opportunities before you.
Photography (and its extension in motion pictures), relies on the power of the moment more than any other medium. Sure music, dance, and theater also require precise timing, but the moments they present can be created and recreated. You can practice until you get the moment right. But with the historical photographic moment, you get one chance and then it’s gone.
To be sure, not all moments are equally fleeting. Some moments last longer than others. And certain events do reoccur more than once and even recur repeatedly. Sometimes you do get more than one chance. Sometimes you don’t. It helps to know how long a window of opportunity you have and if you’ll get another chance. When you do have more than one chance, depending on how much time you have between each recurring event, you may find it time well spent to observe carefully on your first opportunity before acting on your next opportunity. This is perhaps the best preparation of all. When you won’t have another opportunity, you need to think fast and when you don’t have time for that you need to trust your instincts. No matter how many opportunities you have, to succeed you need to stay alert.
Maintenance is key. It’s harder to stay alert if you don’t take care of yourself. Sleep, diet, and exercise all contribute to your being. (And never underestimate the power of motivation.) Start with the basics, but don’t stop there.
Just as you can practice to hone your reflexes, there are things you can do to develop your awareness, such as studies and meditations – and there are many ways to do both (too many to mention here). You can learn to bring yourself into heightened states awareness more consistently, quickly and intensely. This too requires practice. It’s time well spent. Like anything, the more you do it, the better you get at it – especially if you stay alert while you do it.
What can you do to increase your sensitivity?
What can you do to increase your understanding?
What can you do to increase your emotional responses?
What can you do to increase your ability to sustain your awareness for longer periods of time?
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