"Stealing + Lack of Talent = Creativity"

Stealing + lack of talent = creativity.
— Roman Mars

Podcaster, Roman Mars, dropped this nugget in an interview with Chase Jarvis. He set to create a podcast which was a good as the radio shows he listened to. The problem was that he did have the talent (or skill) to do it. His show, 99% Invisible, is the creative solutions to overcome his shortcomings. The lack of talent could also mean a lack of skill, resources, or any shortcoming which prevents you from retracing the original's footsteps. 

My style is a perfect example of this formula playing out. I feel in love with Ernst Haas's motion work. Yet, I shoot with a pinhole camera. How could I reproduce Haas's work while using my pinhole camera? I left my tripod at home and hand held my Holga pinhole camera. After multiple experiments, I also discovered I achieved results closer to Haas if I reduced the exposure to its absolute minimum for the the f192 pinhole. The results followed a similar idea but the end result was completely different due to the pinhole camera. 

What does this mean for you? 

Start with an idea of what you are trying to create. Give yourself a mark to hit. Try to recreate your favorite image. The phenomena where you suddenly notice the car you bought everywhere is very useful in photography. If you give your brain a target, it will find what you are looking for (if its out there). Then give yourself a constraint. Limit your ability to hit that goal. I will be the first to admit that this isnt the most pleasant process. I have produced a ton of garbage images to reach this point. I highly recommend "The Dip" by Seth Godin if you want to learn more about pushing through the quagmire of the middle to get to the end of a project/idea. 

Creativity is a process and not some magical trait. 

Monday Morning Dispatch - Volume #130

Start your Monday off right:

  1. Every photographer employs light to create their images. However, Chris McCaw takes it a step farther. He uses a very tiny pinhole and exposes the paper in such a way that the sun burns a trail or spots in the image. Each image is truly a one of a kind. 
  2. Archie Proudfoot continues the proud tradition of traditional sign painters in London battling the ever growing wave of cheap vinyl signs. The patience and skill in his craft are on display in this profile video. 
  3. Nettie Wakefield's “Reversed Portrait” seems like a ridiculous idea when I initial heard about the project. She draws "portraits" of the back of people's head. Yet, each one has its own character similar to a standard portrait. The skill with the pencil is also crazy impressive.  
  4. Anu Kumar, born in India but grew up in Australia, travels back to her hometown. The resulting images were made during her daily walks through the city with her two aunts.  
  5. “If you find yourself criticizing other people, you’re probably doing it out of Resistance. When we see others beginning to live their authentic selves, it drives us crazy if we have not lived out our own. Individuals who are realized in their own lives almost never criticize others. If they speak at all, it is to offer encouragement. Watch yourself. Of all the manifestations of Resistance, most only harm ourselves. Criticism and cruelty harm others as well.”
    — Steven Pressfield, War of Art
  6. Do you have the case of the Supposedtobes? Ze Frank highlights that feeling we all wrestling with feeling you are supposed to be doing something or at certain place. These videos are 5 years old and I still often come back to them. 

  7. Stephen Wiltshire only needs one look at a city and he can draw the entire skyline in scale purely from memory.  He was diagnosed with Autism at age 3 and people believe that this is how he can create such detailed images from memory.  

  8. The interview with photographer, Daniel Alford, only reinforced my desire to explore the Scottish Highlands. The resulting images he returned with are gorgeous. 

Monday Morning Dispatch - Volume #129

Start your Monday off right:

  1. Urban Golf could only have originated in a place like Portland. Armed with a few clubs, a tennis ball, and probably a few beers, you golf along the street with various structures serving as the "holes".  
  2. My oven is currently in need of repair as it wont light properly (its a gas oven). Naturally, I keep finding recipes for gorgeous loaves of bread like this TUSCANY’S PORK FAT BITS COUNTRY BREAD. I can imagine how amazing a grill cheese made with this bread would be. 
  3. The illustrator, Christopher Niemann, documented his trip to the remote island of Svalbard combining photographs with his whimsical drawings. A great example of story telling in different ways than the conventional methods. 
  4. National Geography photographers continually return with stunning images providing a new glimpse at the world. Kenji is their secret weapon. He builds the custom camera gear that makes some of the images possible. 
  5. I am not really sure how I stumble upon the jazz documentary, 1959 The Year that Changed Jazz, but I easily spent the next hour watching the stories behind 4 of the most influential jazz albums which all were released in 1959. I bought the Miles Davis and Dave Dave Brubeck's album yesterday at my local record shop. 
  6. your life is your life
    don’t let it be clubbed into dank submission.
    be on the watch.
    there are ways out.
    there is light somewhere.
    it may not be much light but
    it beats the darkness.
    be on the watch.
    the gods will offer you chances.
    know them.
    take them.
    you can’t beat death but
    you can beat death in life, sometimes.
    and the more often you learn to do it,
    the more light there will be.
    your life is your life.
    know it while you have it.
    you are marvelous
    the gods wait to delight
    in you.
    -- by Charles Bukowski
  7. Milton Glaser, the famed graphic designer who came up with the "I "heart" NY" campaign, shares his 10 things he has learned over his career. The "Doubt is Better than Certainty" is a particularly interesting idea to explore. 

  8. Jon Burgerman exploded on the internet for his quirky doodles combined with mundane life events. In this Nice Tuesdays talk, he shares how he built his career of weird side projects which built upon each other. 

  9. Gary Vanyerchuk continues to deliver gems. If you are struggling to get something started, just watch "How to Start" and I am pretty sure Gary's energy alone could push you to action. 

  10. Speaking of starting, I restarted my podcast, "The Creative Bar". I interview fellow creators who inspire me and we have a free flowing conversation. Check it out and if you like it, subscribe.