Monday, May 21, 2007

WYSIWYG and creativity

Huh? Is What You See Is What You Get (WYSIWYG) and creativity a contradiction? Is street and documentary photography not creative, and other forms of photography artistic and creative?

I ask this for several reasons.

First, photographers seem to make distinctions between the various catagories of photography, often labelling street, documentary and other wysiwyg images as realistic and not artistic, and either too ordinary or mundane to be creative. Yet, we are absorbed by oldtime street photographs for the scenes, the people, the events, etc.

Second, I describe much of my photography as scenes of the ordinary or walking around photography because it's what it is. But is it creative? Most of my photographs, or images if you make the distinction between film and digital capture, are taken at my eye level, just what I see. I'm learning to lower myself or find higher places to photograph, and sometimes I succeed and sometimes I don't. But I'm learning.

And so the question, where is creative in photography, all forms, types, and catagories? Or do you make distinctions?

Is there creativity in just looking through the viewfinder and composing an image, in your eye, you mind and captured?

Personally, I'm captivated by street photography, the moment in time and space captured for all time. I prefer traditional street photography with film, for the history and the respect of the photographer who was there. We forget the technology that has made photography so easy, from the 1970's onward where we have less to think about with the exposure, such as the right aperture and shutter speed.

We forget that before light meters, photographers had to both compose and think. Could we do that now? Not without a lot of mistakes? How do you think they learned?

But back to the point. I occasionally do some studio photography, and it's always a challenge to me to see something I don't see. This form of creativity is similar to any artist who sees their work as an on-going physical and mental process with the work. And while I have occasional success, it's rare. And yet I keep looking at the work of other studio photographers and keep trying my own.

In the end, creativity to me is simply the human expression, which means all photography is creative, it's about what you see, capture and express about the world. That's enough for me and all we can ask.

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