“I have often thought that if photography were difficult in the true sense of the term — meaning that the creation of a simple photograph would entail as much time and effort as the production of a good watercolor or etching — there would be a vast improvement in total output. The sheer ease with which we can produce a superficial image often leads to creative disaster.” –Ansel Adams
Powerful words by, arguably, one of the most respected photographers in history. So, does blogging stifle creativity? I’m not sure. I’m of the mind that in order to be creative, you need to be productive. Being productive, from my point of view, means that you have to go out and take pictures. You have to “produce” something. For surely you cannot make a great photograph without taking a picture. This does not mean going out and taking random photographs, although that can be fun, it means going out with intent to express your creative vision, whatever that is. Most of my images are rough sketches on the way to the final picture.
Blogging, to be sure, can be a catalyst for productivity. If one is committed to producing 1 shot per day that he/she would like to post, then they will need to have at least 365 shots. If they care about quality and message, then the image count might need to be significantly higher. For myself, to get 365 shots that I really feel represent what I’m trying to say would require that I take about 4,000 shots, on average, as I tend to like about 10% or less of what I shoot. The rest are rough sketches on the way to the final drawing. These other 90% are extremely useful tools in deciding what works and what doesn’t work.
The ease with which we can make an image is unmatched anywhere else in the art world. I’m only speaking of the snapping of the shutter, not the whole creative process or travel time, etc. The final product of other art forms such as painting, drawing, carving, molding, etc. require more time to be invested in order to generate the final product. This speed can lead to carelessness and an overall lack of creativity or insight.
Besides having the upside of increased creativity, blogging has a potential downside as well. One potential downside is of getting in a rut. Another possible downside, from my point of view, is endless experimentation, or becoming a “Jack of all trades. Master of none.” I see this on a few blogs. There is no really sense of cohesiveness, just a lot of disjointed material; However, this is from my point of view and opinion. Lastly, there is the trap of shooting pictures just to post one on the blog.
I’ve fallen into this last trap a few times since I’ve been blogging. I know that it has manifested itself when I get the feeling that I need to go out and shoot something BECAUSE I need an image for tomorrow’s blog photo. This usually leaves me feeling unsatisfied, unfulfilled, and wanting. This can lead to burnout quickly.
When I go out because I feel that I have something to say or because I really feel like shooting, the results, 100% of the time, are always better.
In the end, it should be fun and nothing else. Blogging, for me, is a way to share my outlook on the world. Nothing more. Nothing less. If I don’t have a picture for today, it’s no big deal. I have a lot in the archives. I shouldn’t pressure myself to create. If I take a couple of weeks off from shooting, no big deal. I’ve taken years off just because life got busy. When I returned I was back in form in short order and enjoying it more than ever. Sometimes we just need a short respite to rejuvenate our creative energies.
I went out this morning because it was really foggy, took 51 pictures, deleted them all. I didn’t see anything that I liked when I came back. Some days are like that, but it was fun. This picture is one of those that I took today.