Sunday, February 15, 2009


I was listening to a story about creativity and the researcher being interviewed said there are two general types of creativity, mandane and imaginary creativity, and we're born with a mixture of each. He said each type serves different functions so neither is better or worse than the other, just different.

He called mundane creativity is be creative with the real world, such as people who can brainstorm an idea to its infinite possibilities, and always seem to see something new in the world, with reality, or around an idea or issue. They just seem to expand their mind beyond what people normally think or see.

He called imaginary creativity is be creative in pure fantasy, such as people who can think of amazing stories with many different types of creatures, people, story lines, etc. This people are seen in the writing of science fiction, fantasy, and even some fiction writing, and in the work of video gamers, second-life people, and other computer creations.

Anyway, while listening I began to realize why my imaginary creativity isn't all that great but my mandane creativity is overwhelming my dominant form of creativity. It's why I love seeing and photographing common scenes, places, events, landscapes, people, etc. I can find the imagination in the common, ordinary things of life, the world and reality.

I can often brainstorm better than groups of people. I used to get tired of the group brainstorming sessions because I had already thought of at 90% of what the group and thought and some things they didn't. I would get bored waiting for my one idea when I had already listed the one others have said, well before the meeting started. Give me an idea and I'm off and mentally running.

I read once that most people have a partitioned mind, so they can work on one task while remembering several others, usually 3-5. On the other hand, I have what they call an open architecture my mind where I can easily focus on a single subject to where everything else is forgotten. I can literally focus my entire thinking on one task or idea. And I use that in photography beside work.

When I walking around a downtown area or hiking in Mt. Rainier NP, my sense and mind are almost entirely focused on what's around me, to the extent I can easily forget where I am, what time it is and almost anything else. It's all focused on being and seeing right there. And ideas are the same, my mind expands and wander in directions I don't know or even realize, but just happen.

But I don't have a good, in fact a poor, imagination outside of that, meaning a imaginary creativity. I'm always amazed with people with tremendous imagination beyond the here and now and beyond even the world. And in photography, these people produce amazing images. They can't tell you how they saw it, they just did. As I see the ordinary, they see the imaginary and abstract.

And that's what's interesting. We are our own mundane and imaginary creativity. The trick is to learn to develop the best into more and the worst into better, and all that takes is creativity, something we already have. We have the tools to be and do better. All we have to do it think and imagine.

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