I just gave a talk at Google on the topic of becoming ‘Creative Everyday’ [pdf download link to Slides], and wanted to change the definition of “creativity” from the notion of “artistic innovation” to the propensity to create lots of things.
Therefore as a photographer, you are more ‘creative’ if you create more (new) photos!
1. Forget the photos you’ve made in the past
We must forget in order to create anew.
Therefore it is cogent to allow yourself to forget the photos you’ve already shot. This will actually allow you to create new photos.
If you remember too vividly the photos you’ve already made, you don’t have an incentive to shoot similar scenes. You might think to yourself:
“Oh, I already shot that before.”
Thus you might not make the new photo because it feels too similar to the photo you made in the past.
2. Is it worth shooting new photos (similar) to old photos you’ve already shot?
I think yes. Just because a scene is similar to something you’ve already shot isn’t a reason to not shoot it again.
In simple words:
Shoot all scenes which interest you, regardless of how similar or “cliche” it seems.
Just because you’ve kissed your partner in the past doesn’t mean you shouldn’t kiss them today. Just because you’ve had a certain meal doesn’t mean you cannot eat the same meal.
There is great delight in doing things which are similar to us. Our entire lives should not only revolve around novelty.
Thus in your photography, realize that novelty or artistic innovation is overrated. Just keep making photos, over and over again, of whatever delights you!
Just because I had espresso yesterday doesn’t mean I cannot have the same espresso today. A good addiction is often regular and repeated.
Treat your photos the same way! I would just say every time you shoot a similar scene, just try to do it a little bit differently. Even 1% different!
3. Simple is sublime
Simplest camera. RICOH GR III or your iPhone (or whatever smartphone or camera you like). Simpler the camera and the settings, the better.
For me I’m just shooting RICOH GR III in jpeg high contrast black and white, in P (program) mode, default auto focus, and auto ISO. I literally just point and click!