Why Creative Photography?

This is the problem —

When we think of “creative photography”, we typically mean to say “artistically innovative”.

But who is the judge whether a certain photograph is “artistically innovative”? And is artistic innovation in photography what we desire? Or is it better to just make good, deep, and meaningful photos and disregard “artistic innovation” in our photography?

We are hungry for artistic looking images

This is what I think:

We are generally fatigued with similar looking images. Thus we are hungry for images that are novel, different, interesting, and powerful to us.

Thus in a sense, how artistically innovative a photo doesn’t really matter. What is more important:

Does the photo move me? Does the photo inspire me? Does the photograph take my breath away? Does the photo spark joy, hope, optimism in my soul?

It doesn’t matter if it has already been done before

The ancient Greeks didn’t care much for artistic innovation. They just cared if it was good or not.

The ancients were actually quite simple in their artistic approach. Most of them repeated the same concepts, notions, phrases, adjectives over and over again (note how the phrases in the Illiad are used over and over again by Homer). But they were good (consider how many times the phrase “godlike” is used to describe Hector and Achilles).

Good, simplicity, and strength in their artworks were more important than artistic innovation.

Even as Horace says in his Ars Poetica:

Don’t use outlandish imagery. Stick to what works. Just rework the formula to make it even better.

Strive to be good, not original.

Original means “origin”. If you make the photo and you’re the originator of the image, it is original. Thus every photo you make is original, because you made it.

To be good, think of the German word “gut”. My favorite definition of good is “well suited”. I’m not sure, but I think the word “good”is also related to the word “god”.

Just focus on creating

Dont worry about artistic novelty in your photography. Just keep making new photos! Keep having fun, and keep innovating your own personal artistic vision by continuing to discover new scenes to shoot, and strive to make your photos as beautiful as possible!