10 Things Every Creative Person (That’s YOU) Must Learn

artist unknown…

 

I got this from Chase Jarvis! http://www.chasejarvis.com/

1. Experts aren’t the answer.
The blogs, the teachers, the mentors, the seminars aren’t the answer. They’re not there to tell you exactly what you need to know. If they’re good, then they are there to give you some ideas, some guidelines, or some rules to learn and subsequently break. This isn’t about the expert, it’s about you. In creative pursuits especially…what’s going on inside you is where the answers can be found. Hear what experts say, but don’t always listen to them.

2. Clients cannot tell you what they need.
Clients hire you because they have a problem. They need a great visual representation of something, a solution. They think they know the best way to photograph something, but they don’t really. That’s why they hire you. Take their suggestions to heart, because they definitely know their brand, product, their vision–perhaps even shoot a few versions of the images they THINK they want to see first–but then go nuts with own vision. Add value. Show them something they didn’t expect. Don’t be a monkey with a finger. Remember why you got hired…that YOU are the badass image maker. If you are good enough to get selected for the job, you should be good enough to drive the photographic vision.

3. Don’t aim for ‘better’, aim for ‘different’.
It’s funny how related “better” and “different” are. If you aim for ‘better’ that usually means you’re walking in the footsteps of someone else. There will often be someone better than you, someone making those footsteps you’re following… But if you target being different–thinking in new ways, creating new things–then you are blazing your own trail. And in blazing your own trail, making your own footprints, you are far more likely to find yourself being ‘better’ without even trying. Better becomes easy because it’s really just different. You can’t stand out from the crowd by just being better. You have to be different.

4. Big challenges create the best work.
If you get assignments that are pushing your vision, your skills, then awesome. Kudos to you, keep getting those assignments. If you’re not getting those assignments, then you need to be self-assigning that challenging work. Give yourself tough deadlines and tougher creative challenges. You do your best work where there is a challenge that is clearly present and 10 feet taller than you think you can handle.

5. Aesthetic sensibilities actually matter.
Go figure on this one… I’m constantly surprised as how much this is overlooked. Read this and believe it: You must develop a keen understanding of design, color, light, and composition. To just say “I know a picture when I like it” isn’t going to get you anywhere. You need to know –for your own sake as well as the sake of your clients who will ask you– WHY a photo is a great photo. WHY is this one better than that one. If you don’t have any visual vocabulary, opinion, or aesthetic sensibility you won’t be able to explain these things. You won’t get the job. Or if you do get the job, you won’t be able to explain why your photos are worth getting hired again by the same client for the next campaign, story, or video. Trust me on this. Develop a sense of visual taste.

6. Simple is good.
Almost every photo that is bad has too much information. Outside of technical basics, the number one reason that most photos fail is because there is no clear subject. Often this is the case with design, film, fashion, you name it. Remove clutter, remove distraction. Tell one story, and tell it well.

7. Make mistakes, learn quickly.
Simply put, you need to be able to learn from your mistakes. Avoiding failure is not the goal. The goal is recovering from mistakes quickly. That goes for ever element of your photography–creative, business, vision…you name it. If you’re not willing to make mistakes, you’ll be paralyzed with inaction. That is the devil. Get out there and do stuff. If it works, do more of it. If it doesn’t work, change it. Quickly.

8. “Value” is different from “price.”
Don’t compete on price alone. That is certain death in any creative field. Focus on delivering value and price yourself accordingly. If you deliver great value with your images — better than expected, and better than your competition– and you can illustrate that through any means, then you should be more expensive. And remember that value comes in many forms.

9. A-Gamers work with A-Gamers.
If you are good at what you do, then you work–or seek to work–with other people who kick ass too. If you suck, then you put yourself around sucky people to feel better about yourself. If you want to be the best, seek to be around awesome people–be it other artists, assistants, producers, clients, partners, whatever. Shoot high. Shoot for better than yourself.

10. Real artists create.
Do you just sit around and think of stuff you could create, photograph, build, ship, or design, but never output anything? Then you’re a poser. Take a new approach and make stuff. Maybe what comes out of your studio isn’t perfect, but there should always stuff leaving the door and hitting the web, the page, the billboard, the gallery, or the street. If you are for real, you’ll be pumping out work on the regular.

There you go. Now don’t just read this list, KNOW this list.

[This list was unabashedly, profoundly inspired by my pal Guy Kawasaki's article "What I learned from Steve Jobs." If you like this version that I've adapted to and reworked to be creative industry/photography centric, you'll still love Guy's version here.]

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Spontaneous Combustion Panel Report Now Online!

Spontaneous Combustion Panel Chair Preston Poe, 2012, photo credit Paul Catanese.

 

Spontaneous Combustion! proved to be an exciting and energizing experience for the audience and participants. Panelists included Joseph DeLappe, Robert Lawrence, Ceci Moss, Lee Montgomery and EI Janet Lin.

The topics ranged from an inside view of critical practice in contemporary methodologies and interventions regarding political viewpoints on current culture, the identification of social space and new modalities of integrating social media, the historical application of internet art through anagrams and references between the physical and virtual, broadcast technology and open-source experimentation, and ultimately the role of misperception and hyper-reality in online streaming and live media.

The artists submitted their work as initial abstracts and then shared the following reports on their research, in this way integrating their own reflections on the experience.

Special thanks should be made to John Cates for his technical support, in addition to the administration and staff of the Velaslavasy Panorama, as well as Paul Catanese, who provided the still images that accompany this chair’s report.

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YouTunes Strikes Again!

I’ll be at the Delaware Center for Contemporary Arts this Friday night (October 5) conducting personal interviews in preparation for my performance on Sunday, October 7th. I’ll do songs at 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 pm. Hope to see you both days. For more information check out the DCCA website below. Here’s a little PSA I did to encourage folks to come down to the opening for the Young Country Exhibition curated by Maiza Hixson:

http://www.thedcca.org/young-country

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Drones: 3 Laws

I’ve designed a series of drones based on Isaac Asimov’s Three  Laws of Robots. The series is a whimsical take on the future of Drone technology.

This work was exhibited at Mercer University’s Hardman Hall gallery in the summer of 2012. Special thanks to Colin Rock and Dmitry Anisimov for their assistance with this project.

The exhibition is scheduled for October 2012 in the Atrium Gallery at Salisbury University.

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Duke University: Center for the Study of the Public Domain Does it Again!

There’s a lot of chatter these days about what constitutes “fair use” and there should be. As corporations get bigger and more powerful, creativity becomes a greater challenge. Do yourself a big favor and download this great comic that will tell you just about everything you really NEED to know.

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My Moonlight Mile

So, things got a little chilly this year, and the furnace went south for the winter. I just had to get
by with a pretty clean copy of Sticky Fingers, which is the Rolling Stones record with the reprehensible
crotch shot cover (why hasn’t this idea been lifted by a female band yet? (hmmmm…maybe it has at some
point)) So with a little time on my hands between projects I thought I’d work on my favorite Sticky Fingers
song, which is of course, Moonlight Mile. Hope your holiday was less eventful, and that you can dig it.

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Upcoming YouTunes: Poe and Hester at The Super G: Experiential Residency Program, Greensboro, NC — July 14-18, 2011

Upcoming YouTunes: Poe and Hester at The Super G: Experiential Residency Program, Greensboro, NC — July 14-18, 2011
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Polyphonic Theremin? No such thing! Until Now.

Check out the Video by clicking on the link and scrolling down…

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How to be/think/steal (like an artist)

This is a great little “how-to”. What makes you tick, Why? How? What is it that makes an artist an artist? One of life’s greatest, strangest, weirdest mysteries is almost but not exactly revealed, after all it’s up to you. What makes YOU tick?

ps: thanks to Mieke for pointing me to this!

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and other the other side of the copyright coin…

Clyde Stubblefield

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