A Movable Feast
Just a work note.
I have been struggling to combine the concept of creativity with photography. Can there be creativity at all since we deal with a mechanical reproduction of reality? Photography, even now, is often described as such.
Creativity is defined as the ability and the process of combining already existing things/ideas in a new way. Everything is supposed to be already there, but creative combinations are, in all cases, not there yet. And they never will be.
This definition, here quoted from memory, seems to be the same across branches. It works in science, in business and in the arts. And elsewhere. The structure of creativity does not change even if you shift area.
This could pose a particular problem for photography because in reproduction you can seemingly only render what is already there. How is it possible to combine things/ideas in a new way when you are dependent on what the camera brings back to you?
I can understand that creativity is possible in, for instance, painting since you have paint, brushes, canvas and can combine these whatever way you want to get an image to your satisfaction. But in photography? How is something like that possible?
If you study the picture above you will find that elements in it can be isolated and described: the musician with his self made instrument, the photographer in the foreground, the listening young woman, the man in the background, the large trash can.The image can be broken down even further, but in this context this will do. These are the objective elements.
My point is that these elements are already there for everyone too see and to possible fix on film or other media. Since they are there for everyone to see and record there are no new combinations involved in recording. Or are there?
Maybe an argument could go like this: There is another, additional element that is there. Even if it is almost never visible in photographs. That additional element is the photographer. He/she is the active force who makes the elementary difference, so to speak. He/she is the subjective element in any photograph.
Even if the photograph is locked up in a mechanical recording of what is there for the camera, the photographer have to fix the moment in the very split second in which the objective elements make a moveable feast within the frame. They all have to dance together: the subjective element and the objective ones. They have all to participate in the same, moveable feast.
In terms of creativity it is that meeting, recorded at that crucial moment, that makes all the difference. In photography, that moment is when the new combination of already existing elements finds its expression and links to the subjective element, the photographer.
There is not much new in this, is there. Mostly a clarification. For me it links photography to phenomenology, but that is a story is for a rainy day.
When I talk about this as a moveable feast and thereby quote an author once living in Paris with his young wife, is it because it takes a certain strain and portions of luck and smaller and larger periods of waiting (and some alertness too), to fix a photograph so that all the guests behave as if they participate at the same party. Even the photographer.
In this shot, I think they do. My 2p. You don’t have to agree.
Well, it is only a work note anyway. Hardly a movable anything. Typos will be corrected later.