Thoughts on Creativity

Dear friends, something I’ve been thinking a lot about is creativity. That creativity is probably our apex value, yet, the word is used so imprecisely. When we talk about creativity, people mean to talk about artistic ingenuity, being unique and one-of-a-kind. However, I think originality and uniqueness in art is not the goal.

For example, let’s say that your kid starts drawing smiley faces. Would you discourage your kid from drawing :-) faces on the account that it has “already been done before “? Or, would you discourage a kid from doing anything, or eating anything, because “other kids have done it before, and perhaps better than you?“ Of course not.

This is our biggest threat in photography, that there are lots of snobby and pretentious photographers who feed their own low self-esteem by putting down other newbie photographers. Originality and photography is not so important. What is more important is enthusiasm, curiosity, and passion.


I coined this new word, which I call Creatism. The idea is that we have the greatest joy in creating. That we create in order to learn, and we also create in order to have fun.

Let me give you an example: the best way I was able to learn about cars was to build and modify my car. And also when something broke, or needed to do an oil change, and I did it myself, I understood it through doing.

Also, I am very grateful to my high school friend eric moon who taught me how to build computers. After building your own computer, it teaches you that computers are not as complex as we think they are. If I never built a computer, I may be more intimidated by technology.

Photography is the same way: I actually think that when you’re starting off as a beginner, taking photography classes, or getting a photography teacher is not good. Why? You become indoctrinated far too quickly. Better to self experiment by yourself, and figure it out long as you go, and maybe seek a teacher or some sort of mentor leader, when you have hit some sort of dead end. Maybe take a photography workshop or class when you feel like you have hit a plateau. But if you’re progressing along by yourself in photography just fine by yourself, stay solo.

Create more photos

Give yourself permission to make lots of “bad,” or “cliché” photos. also, do not trap yourself in the reductive category. Become an all encompassing star for, in which you literally photograph everything. Photograph all parts of your life in existence, from the food you eat, to the clothes you wear, to your selfie, to your friends and family members, to your receipts, to your shoes and feet, with the products you use, or strangers, or nature, or urban city life. Photography to me is one of the most interesting art forms, because we must walk and be outdoors and interact with embodied reality in order to make photos. Therefore, it is one of the most active forms of art. Compare this with the depressing nature of the painter, who must sit down, indoors, in front of an easel in a cramped studio, in order to paint. I think this is also why a lot of the impressionist painters love to pick up doors in the open, standing, with fresh air and sunlight like Claude Monet


In order for an optimal existence, optimize your life to create. For example, on your phone, you could write with the iA Writer app, use voice dictation to write, download the anchor app on your phone to record your own voice podcast, use your iPhone selfie video camera to shoot blogs, use Zen Brush 2 app to make calligraphy, or use procreate on the iPhone to make illustrations. Also, of course your phone and your camera can take pictures.

Also, curating your photos is also an act of creation. By rearranging, re-editing, and laying something out in another way, you also create something new. Curation is a form of creation.

Processing your photos, or glitching or modifying your photos is also an act of creation

Something that I’ve been having a lot of fun doing is using the procreate app to add color gradients on top of my photos, glitch them, add chromatic aberration, add noise and grain, etc. When you apply a filter on top of your photos, it is also an act of creation. Remixing is also creation.

There is no such thing as cheating in creativity

It is good for us to progress by becoming more open and accepting towards all forms of creativity. For example, there is snobbery when it comes to some sorts of creativity, like adult coloring books etc. But for myself, whenever I hear that anyone is doing anything active, creatively artistically, in any sort of way, I am very happy for them. It is unbecoming of us to judge the artwork of others as less than us, rather, it is best for us to think that all of humanity can artistically thrive together.

Create your own fun, create your own play

For me, walking around and taking photos very fun and interesting and entertaining to me. The act of choosing your exposure competition framing, and selecting what is in and outside of the frame is like a game to me.

Instead of playing call of duty or any other first person shooter, street photography is also much more fun and interesting, as it takes real social risk, as well as quick footing, and sharpshooter accuracy.

Have fun with it

Ultimately my take away for you is this: just have more fun creating, playing and doing artistic things. We are all in this together!



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If this gave you any new ideas, or sparked anything creative in your mind, feel free to forward to it a friend.

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