Skills versus Creativity – One More Time



I have previously written about the seemingly inherent conflict between technical skills and creative expression. If you have read the posts, you know that I don’t really believe there is such a conflict, but think that craftsmanship only broadens the artist’s expressive abilities. The last couple of days I have been reading The Creative Photographer by Andreas Feininger (thanks to danitacahill who made me aware of the book some time ago). Feininger was a late staff photographer at Life when the magazine was at its heights. In the book he has a passage that goes straight to this duality I have focused on in my blog-posts, which makes for a very strong statement. Let me quote the passage from the book:

«Although, according to popular belief, photo-technical knowledge and skill are first among the qualifications of a good photographer, in my opinion they rank last. I say this because I have met too many photographers who literally knew all the answers in the book, were experts in photo-technical matters, owned the finest equipment, and never made a worthwhile photograph. On the other hand, I know for a fact that several of our most successful photojournalists have only the sketchiest ideas about photo technique – and that the laboratory technicians [remember this was written before the age of digital photography] assigned to do their work suffer whenever they have to print their films. But these photographers know how to make good pictures. They know how to see, they feel for and with their subjects, and they know how to express their feelings in photographic form. Any competent photo technician can make acceptable prints from technical poor negatives, but if feeling and sensitivity are lacking, then obviously, there is no remedy».

«This should not be interpreted to mean that I condone bad technique. I don’t. But if I had to choose between the two – a meaningful picture that is technically poor, and a meaningless picture that is photo-technically unassailable – I unhesitatingly would choose the first. However in this age of foolproof cameras, […] there is really no excuse for bad photo technique. Technique can be mastered by anyone who cares to make the effort. And once mastered, it should be taken for granted and not used as a measure of the value of a photograph – or a photographer».

The Creative Photographer by Andreas Feininger was first published in 1955. Since then photo technique has only become easier to get grip on and to master, thanks to digital imagery and cameras that are so much more advanced compared to back then. Andreas Bernhard Lyonel Feininger – as his full name was – (1906-1999) was a German American photographer, and writer on photographic technique, noted for his dynamic black-and-white scenes of Manhattan and studies of the structure of natural objects (according to Wikipedia. The photograph to the left, «The Photojournalist», may be Feininger’s best-known photograph. The now-iconic image of photojournalist Dennis Stock was taken for Life Magazine. Picture also from Wikipedia).

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About Otto von Münchow

Photographer based in Norway
This entry was posted in Creativity, Photo Techniques, Photographic Reflections, Photography and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

125 Responses to Skills versus Creativity – One More Time

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  3. That first shot is just so ethereal! I love it.

  4. gilmarcil says:

    love shots 1 and 2 very much…

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  6. lynn says:

    interesting post, great photos

  7. niasunset says:

    This was so nice to read… I haven’t met him before, I noted his book too now. In today’s technique, especially digital cameras are amazing…. The results are amazing. But as he wrote, in any case, every time the meaningful picture is important… But of course to know technique is great… It is great because it gives an endless oppurtinities in your creative world. To be honest I am not so good about techniques… Thank you dear Otto, as always your sharing is great. Have a nice and enjoyable new week, with my love, nia

  8. recoverythrumylens says:

    I agree…people often ask me what camera or printer I use…and I always reply that it’s not the equipment that matters…it’s the eye….

    • laz says:

      Best response!!!!!!! I feel the same way! I started with a 4 pixel camera taking amazing images, people thought that I had an amazing equipment! lol.. I said, its not the camera but the eye, composition and passion for what you photograph!

  9. Victor Ho says:

    Therein lies the problem with professional photography. Everyone with an iPhone is a photographer. At an event on Saturday, I watched a woman was using a tripod and on-camera flash to shoot an fast moving battle re-enactment. She was in a fixed position. Her flash on a bright sunny day could scarcely add any light or soften shadows on subjects more than 100 feet away. Location shooting has been replaced by using Photoshop to add the background of your choice. Professionals must compete in this environment where technical ability is misunderstood and iPhone shots comprise the great majority of images currently taken. Print magazines (Life and Look) gave way even before digital photography began. And as for choosing a “technically poor, meaingful picture” it brings to mind the thought “sometimes, even a blind squirrel gets a nut.”

    • Victor, I was going to make a similar but different comment so I thought I’d make my comment a reply to what you wrote.

      I’ve read in various places – usually on the websites or in the articles of professional photographers – that the differences between professionals and amateurs is rapidly shrinking. I think Munchow makes the case for why – using a digital camera with pre-set settings is a point and shoot affair. However, if you have an eye, and some interest in knowledge of techniques that have nothing to do with the technicalities of shutter speed and aperture (for example knowing where to place the subject in the frame, having a feel for when to use silhouette, etc) then you stand a much better chance of getting a good shot.

      Another aspect of photography that lends amateur’s extra potential is the ease with which we can shoot multiple takes of a similar shot and then choose the best one and crop it when we look at them later.

      People are always surprised when I tell them I’m using a fixed-lens point and shoot camera without a tripod for all my photos. I would ONLY ever say I’m an amateur, because I am. In point of fact, I’m **not** technically adept; I use presets on my camera often (either scenery setting for far away landscape shots or portraits setting for close up items) BUT I know I’ve captured at least a few good shots. Of course, don’t let me be the judge: http://cdeminskiphotos.shutterfly.com

      Thanks
      Carol

    • valzone says:

      I agree with you Victor. “Sometimes, even a blind squirrel gets a nut”…I love that.

    • munchow says:

      The problem for professional photography is actually not that modern technology has made it easy for everyone to take a sharp and corrects exposed photo. The problem is that people think that is all it takes. And the real problem is that those buying photos like AD’s and photo editors think even they can take a good picture – or at least aren’t willing to pay what a professional photographer requires. Otherwise your observation is spot on – and illustrates the point. Haven’t we all seen the flashes going off from far back on the big stadiums? Anyone with a little technical knowledge sure knows that this is all going to be a disaster – image-wise.

  10. Creative and technically beautiful photography and post. It’s all here.

  11. Michelle Gillies says:

    Otto, you have inspired me with your “Skills vs Creativity” series. It has been a long time since I have made a living as a photographer. I haven’t had any professional equipment in my hands for years. Reading your blog has made me long to “create” a photograph again.
    The “Life” photo of Dennis Stock is reminiscent of the work of Yousuf Karsh. The man whose work first inspired me to become a photographer.

  12. fgassette says:

    I enjoy your blog. You have inspired me in many ways. I’m not a professional photographer, I have learned most of what I know from looking at others photos and shooting what I like through my eyes. Thank you for this post.

    BE ENCOURAGED! BE BLESSED!

  13. likeitiz says:

    Truly dynamic black and whites. Thank you for introducing us to Feininger. He and his work are now immortalized in your blog. Thank you, Otto

  14. janechese says:

    Thanks for sharing this quote. When I observe many of the photo blogs of the so-called untrained photographers in WordPress, I am amazed at the beauty , passion and emotional impact their photos have on me.

  15. Bindu says:

    That was a really interesting post.”a meaningful picture that is technically poor, and a meaningless picture that is photo-technically unassailable – I unhesitatingly would choose the first.” – great words.
    I feel this is applicable to the other fields too. If you are bothered too much about the technical excellence you tend to ignore the creativity aspect.
    I am a teacher and I have seen that some less qualified teachers with a creative bend of mind do much better than the fully qualified ones who are overconfident because of the certificates they have in their files. The latter ensure everything is done as per the rules but miss that special, unique touch that the students look for. They never refer, or update their knowledge.

  16. valzone says:

    I love this post Otto, haven’t read all the comments as yet, I’ll be back.

  17. Interesting post, as usual from you, Otto. Many years ago, just before the digital era I had an interesting experience. I took part in a week long workshop held by a famous NatGeo photographer. We were a group of 6 maybe 8 people. More or less we all had a medium, medium high technical knowledge and control of the cameras. Except one young girl. She had just bought her first SRL (entry level) and did not know so much how the camera worked. Our “teacher” ask us about our photo attitudes, what we liked etc and than we made a working plan, including personal assignment in order to produce a body of work for the end of the week. To make it shorter we were all surprised by the photo of the unexperienced girl: maybe with some technical issue but very expressive, with a strong personal view. Why? Because she was just graduated from an art school and had a real good eye, a strong visual approach. And produced a coherent body of work, not just many “good” casual snaps. Of course with more tech. knowledge her photos could have even been better. In today’s digital era it is even easier, but personally I think at least some basic knowledge are necessary, both technical and visual. Like being able to decide if the background has to be in focus or not and let the camera do it (via aperture you decide or preset does not matter).
    robert
    PS: Sorry for the long post, next one will be shorter!

    • munchow says:

      Don’t be sorry for an excellent comment. If you bring your heart into the work, you can make do with little technical knowledge. But imagine what that talent would be able to achieve with more craftsmanship?

  18. LensScaper says:

    Two terrific images at the top of this post, Otto. One of the consequences of the digital era, and the arrival of the point and shoot fool-proof compact (and phone of course) is that anyone and everyone thinks they are a ‘photographer’. And they are awfuly difficult to help if you try to offer any sort of advice.

  19. I believe you inspire even the novice-photographer…like me! I have recently purchased a very nice camera and I’m determined to learn more. I do admire your abilities. And your dedication to sharing. Debra

  20. dearrosie says:

    I keep going back to look at your photos in this post and every time I do I find something else to marvel at. The white figure walking down that dark passage is brilliant as is the low angle of the kite photo.

    Thank you for the Feininger quotes – we recently had an exhibition at the museum of photos by someone called Feininger. Must be the same guy. He was a painter, architect, photographer, cartoonist….

  21. Otto – thanks for sharing this. It’s an interesting conversation. I think that photography is so subjective in terms if what one sees in an image; it can be easy to forgive a mistake in technique for creativity. Photography is a form of art in that it requires discipline to learn its form. Case in point: I just posted 4 meaningful photos – whilst they are in a sense, creative, they could have been bettered if my skillset was sharper. I’d love your comments if you have some time, as I think this is an example of where technique married with skill could have produced 4 excellent shots. That’s my opinion, and one viewpoint to this multi-dimensional argument. http://marinachetner.com/2012/04/16/breathing-travel-my-photo-picks-meaningful-scenes/ Thanks for sharing!

  22. valzone says:

    Great post Otto, thank you. Due to the persuasion of my fellow photography club members, I recently allowed myself to upgrade my Adobe Elements, to Elements 10. That was 3 weeks ago, and I’m still struggling to understand it, and plough through the all the weird and wonderful things I can do to enhance my photographs. I’m not into manipulation, mainly because I don’t have the patience. Last nights meeting, one our experts in Photoshop, showed how to add and remove people from an image. Yes, its clever, but its not what I see as genuine photography. Making necessary adjustments, lighten, darken etc etc, is fine, however, manipulation is not for me. To make a comical image, for fun is ok, because its obvious, thats fine of course.

    • munchow says:

      Knowing what you don’t want to do, is just as valuable as know what you want to do. Good luck with getting the best out of your new Adobe Elements!

  23. Nice article Otto. Mainly I just wanted to stop by and say HI!!

  24. So true, the expression ‘the eye has it’ comes to mind when I think about this subject

  25. Isabelle says:

    Love the vivid moods of both photographs… truly artistic.

  26. Sunshine says:

    Thank you for sharing your take on The Creative Photographer. Technique or creativity . . . maybe a balance from both worlds but definitely creating from the heart would seem more rewarding for the artist. Great points to meditate on anyway. 🙂

  27. CherryPie says:

    Andreas seems to have the situation summed up very well, it sounds an interesting book.

    Love your photos, I particularly like the first one.

  28. danitacahill says:

    Love this post. I got a lot from that book too, Otto. I’m glad you were able to find a copy. I’ve reread some parts of The Creative Photographer two and three times. Good equipment is wonderful. A good eye is even better, in my opinion.

  29. alldigital photography says:

    I have an old copy of The Creative Photographer by Andreas Feininger and it is interesting to read your thoughts. I must read it again. To some extent the technical skills of photography can be learned by most people, but and creative expression in photography, I believe is more of a gift that some have and others do not.

    • munchow says:

      I think some people have more natural talent than others, yes. But I also believe we all have creativity in us, and practise, practise and more practise will bring it out – along with an open mind.

  30. doephotog says:

    Inspiring images and post as always. Sometimes people just understand what it is that looks nice. Almost everyone in my family has some artistic ability and before I picked up a camera I would draw and draw.

    When I got my camera and looked to make nice pictures with it, some things felt almost obvious to me and I didn’t even think about it. It wasn’t till later I read that many of the techniques I used with no thought were rule-like. I think it might come down to immersion, it’s like a native language to some people. Obviously there is always room for growth and it can always be learned.

  31. Melanie says:

    Absolutely A-mazing shots! I could not agree w/ you more…. I have seen many beautiful pictures taken w/ “non fancy” cameras, & un= technical technics.

  32. aFrankAngle says:

    I respectfully ask this as a nonphotographer – If “photo-technical knowledge and skill” would be your last two qualifications, what would be your first two?

    I appreciate both of your pictures above. There something I always enjoy about the narrow streets as in Europe, but the priest in all-white while walking away helps. The contracts of gray in the second one are very striking to me.

  33. the two photos together are wonderful!

  34. Oscar says:

    Fantastics… Great

  35. I did not know of this photographer-writer. Your post is a brilliant introduction to his ideas. Here you have problematised the duality of technical skill and creativity very well. This tension between the two aspects of a work of art permeates all aesthetics….I feel. As a result we have somewhat a neat duality between what has been considered as folk art and high art. There are appreciators of both. The ones who favor the folk artist seem to be titled towards expression (however that is achieved) and the latter have an eye for technique (how advanced that is). This is a fascinating question to think of…actually!
    Thanks for the post!

    • munchow says:

      But why is it, whether we speak about folk art contra high or camera technique contra creativity; that there seem to be a barrier between the two stands? When the best thing would be able to merge both sides for even greater results.

  36. Another excellent post Otto. I love the excerpt you quoted. I was not familiar with Lyonel Feininger but will be checking him out.

  37. emilyjsantos says:

    “On the other hand, I know for a fact that several of our most successful photojournalists have only the sketchiest ideas about photo technique” – I couldn’t agree more with this statement. I think photography comes from within. Following it by the book can restrict us. Great pieces are unique, different and are shot thinking outside the box! 🙂

    • munchow says:

      Knowing one’s craft doesn’t mean restricting your inner artist, but will only give it more options to blossom. Likewise thinking outside the box is indeed important, but also, you need to know what the box is before you can think outside of it. In the end you are so right, any artistic expression comes from within.

  38. F.a l a i n says:

    By looking of more meadows these at recording, I said to myself here is a safe journey…

  39. I agree with you Otto. First and foremost it is HOW photographer sees things. Then comes the knowledge on how to capture that. I had to learn math and I passed the tests in high school but I had no brain for it. Knowing how to do it did not make me a great mathematician. Same with art.

  40. I agree…good composition and choice of subject override proper exposure and such, every time. A lot of photographic skill boils down to math. Just as a baseball player does a quadratic equation in his head to place his hand in the right spot to catch a fastball, a photographer instinctively does the math to compose a great shot, get the light and the angles correct, get the right exposure and shutter speed and depth of field, to create that perfect photo. Musicians are inherently good at math also. The trick to being good at all those things is to “feel” the numbers and let them flow through you to come up with the right sum. Even photographing living subjects is still just math. Digital was a boon to me, because now I can take as many shots as I want, knowing that statistically I will get some good ones, at practically no expense other than my time.

    • munchow says:

      Math or technique, yes, it all has to be executed instinctively for it not to get in the way of the creative process. And you have another good point. Digital imagery does indeed make it possible to keep shooting, and thus amping up the chances of getting the good pictures. But it can also become a soothing pillow so that you lose concentration…

  41. Andrei Barbu says:

    Wonderful images, great composition!

  42. Carol H says:

    Thanks for this post, Otto. As you know, this has been on my mind a lot recently, esp with working with a Holga, where I have feeling for the subject, but not so much technique. And thanks for acknowledging those who process my imperfect images. I bow down to my Lab Tech at Moon Photo in Seattle, he is truly my partner in my whole film photography process. I will look for Feininger’s book for sure.

  43. Leovi says:

    Nice pictures, kites in the sky these are pure poetry. Greetings.

  44. Mariann says:

    Hej Otto!
    Det er en spændende blog du har her som jeg vil se nærmere på.
    p.s. Tak for besøget og din kommentar på min blog
    Hilsen
    Mariann

  45. fabrizio says:

    elegant and wonderful your result in these monochrome, awesome and complete post

  46. I have told this story before which does rather illustrate the mind sdet of some photographers. I went to a Wildlife Lecture about an African Safari. The lecturer/photographer had some really great images, he captured the light, mood, habitat and of course the animals so well….captures that could not have been made without an understanding of where and what he was shooting with that added atristic touch of flair. Rightly so when he concluded there was a very big round of applause. But the first question from the floor was ‘What Camera did you use?’ He replied a Nikon and a big disparaging groan when up from a good section of the audience and for some his work downgraded. Not one question followed to discover just how he had created such good images and provided a great evenings entertainment ( and for me some inspiration)… .all revolved arround equipment, did he shoot RAW of JPEG, how much post processing and what with. What ever his reply he either pleased some of the audience whilst alienating the rest…sad.

    • munchow says:

      It’s indeed sad when that is all that comes to mind of those watching an amazing show. And to me it’s strange that people think that equipment equals technique. Technique is how you handle the equipment, not what it is. Any camera can do wonders.

  47. Gertie says:

    Snygg blogg du har! Intressanta tankar och kreativa bilder, återkommer!
    Tack för kommentar hos mig!

  48. Beautiful photographs. I love your passion. I have been doing a lot of genealogy lately, my ancestors are from Norway – Fredrikstadt. I would love, more than anything, to visit Norway and combine a photography workshop with some digging around for more information on my relatives. It’s such a beautiful country!
    Thanks for stopping by my blog.

  49. Janny says:

    Fantastische foto’s op je blog
    En je bent heel creatief Super
    Groetjes Janny

  50. Janny says:

    Je Website is Fantastisch Otto je bent een groot Fotograaf mijn complimenten ,
    Leuk dat je mijn blog bezocht

    • munchow says:

      Thanks for the lovely words. Even though I don’t speak Dutch I got what you wrote (without using Googles Translate). I guess it helps having a sister living in Holland.

  51. Paule says:

    The first image is very surreal.

  52. marty says:

    amazing shots !
    thank you very much for your visit !

  53. Roland Theys says:

    Beautiful photography and post!
    Well thank you for your visit on my pages!

  54. The Hook says:

    Technical skills are certainly invaluable, but without some degree of inherent talent, what good are they really?

  55. Hilda says:

    It is always the person behind the camera who made the photos.
    The photos here was creativ and beautiful!
    Wish you a creativ weekend.

  56. starlaschat says:

    Thought provoking post. I also enjoyed the photos a lot of feeling I could almost feel the tempeture of the air when I was look at the kite flying photo.
    I stuggle with this as I have always seen photography for myself as an expresion of love and joy and a way to LOOK at the world. I have not worried so much about the tecnical part, although I enjoy looking at photos that are tecnically perfect. Now I’m trying to take my time more and to learn more about the tecnical parts of photography. I have a so so camera, which I think has been a good thing for me. I feel like I really need to know how to make my camera’s sing before I get a fancy dancy camera. I went to a school track meet the other day I was amazed at how many of the parents had nice Canon camera’s. I would say I may have seen seven or eight canon cameras. I had camera envy a little bit as I stood at the end of the track holding up my sony cyber shot 12.1 mega pixals. :+)

    • munchow says:

      I wouldn’t worry about getting a new camera. Rather learn to use the one you have in the best of ways. It’s more than good enough.

      • starlaschat says:

        Thank You I agree I love my camera that I have now. The small size is really nice becuase most of the time I just blend in, I like that I don’t stand out much. There’s a lot I still have to learn about the camera’s that I have now.

  57. Marias Teater says:

    Thank you – impressing photos and post!

  58. Elin says:

    Your pictures are so alive. Your have really captured the moments of beauty in a wonderful way.

  59. viola says:

    Hi and thanks for your comment! 🙂

    Yes, I think creative expressions is just as important when taking photos.. and you have got both beautiful and creative photos here! 🙂

    I’ve scrolled down and seen and read som of your other posts as well, much interesting to see..

    Greetings, Viola 🙂

  60. viola says:

    I.m so sorry.. the link in my name was wron spelled.. NOW you will find it correctly.. 🙂

  61. Otto, I have read your other pieces on this subject, and I agree completely. Especially when you put it like this, “if feeling and sensitivity are lacking, then obviously, there is no remedy.” So true! For ages photographers have been manipulating their images in darkrooms, now we basically do the same thing, but just with more tools at our disposal.

    I used to think I was “cheating” if I digitally manipulated an image. But then it got to be a lot of fun, to adjust the colors especially, to either change the mood, or simply make the photos look more like the actual reality, as I remembered it at least.

    That photo of the kites is beautiful.

  62. PS — In the end, I believe that photos are stories.

    And just like a writer edits his or her prose, a photographer should be allowed the same freedom of expression with his or her photos. It’s all the same — all about telling stories.

    • munchow says:

      You are right, as an artistic media photography should be as free to be experimented with as any other art form. We need to have fun – and don’t feel bad about. It’s a little different, though, when it comes to documentary photography. There are some clear limitations in this field of photography. It’s just like a newspaper can’t write anything they want to.

  63. I’ve really enjoyed these discussions, especially since I’m limited on equipment and still have tons to learn on technique! Thanks for introducing us to this book!

  64. José Ramón says:

    Gracias por su visita saludos desde…
    Abstracción textos y Reflexión.

  65. Tiago Braga says:

    Hello =) Thank you so much for your visiti on my pace, glad you like it!

    well, you have here a very interesting place, full of live and contracts, well done =)

  66. joshi daniel says:

    yeah with modern day cameras technical perfection is easy and i also go with creativity more than technical knowledge 🙂

  67. hotlyspiced says:

    I love the image of the kites and could look at it for hours – and I think that’s the sign of something beautifully creative. xx

  68. Irene says:

    Takk for besøket og kommentaren! Fint at du fant meg slik at jeg kunne oppdage denne flotte bloggen, eller rettere sagt DEG! Jeg har også skjønt såpass, at det er hva man formidler, det øynene ser og ikke kvaliteten på utstyret som teller. Det er derfor jeg henger meg fast her i bloggverden, for å utvikle meg, få inspirasjon og lære av andre. Skal følge med, kanskje jeg en dag får anledning til å henge med på en workshop!

    Hilsen Irene

  69. hello, again. am afraid there are more of the second kind… the techie types. ^^

    the pictures above are captivating. they make one take another look – that beautiful… 🙂

  70. mariadesuede says:

    Saken är den att jag är konstnär, det var penseln och duken som var min kamera förr… Fast jag är intresserad av ornitologi och fotografering hjälper mig att lära mig mer om fàglarnas beteenden. Jag tar visserligen porträtt nuförtiden, men i det fallet sà blir det svartvitt…

    Jag har varit upptagen med det franska presidentvalet, har tagit foton àt ett parti som har publicerats pà deras hemsida… Men kreativitet är viktigt inom all konst, inklusive foto… Även màlning handlar till en viss del om teknik… Màste ta ett foto av min blàhaj och publicera den… En av mina bästa tavlor… Fast när det gäller màlning sà har jag svàrt för att veta när tavlan är färdig, jag vill lägga till en detalj etc… Det finns massor av tekniker inom màlningen…

    Jag kände min förra kamera som min egen ficka, det börjar nu med min nya, fast det är samma märke… Intressant läsning iaf…

  71. magiceye says:

    very interesting

  72. Kana Tyler says:

    “craftsmanship only broadens the artist’s expressive abilities”… Perfectly put! 🙂

  73. Contrasting forms and tonal quality make those two top images are absolutely wonderful. Feininger’s ideas make total sense to me. Interestingly, I’ve heard the same said of jazz improvisers. Technique as a means to an ends is what counts in both cases. And that closing photo is just so famous, and is truly iconic.

    Thanks for your recent visit to my blog, Otto. All the best from Santiago…

  74. Pingback: Skills versus Creativity – One More Time | Münchow's Creative … » Foto blogi

  75. I think I am going to share that quote you posted with my friend Ruth who is a photographer. She is very spirited, and I think that you and she share the same heart for connecting to the subject matter of the photographs rather than taking the professional/technical approach. Your photos hold very interesting stories within them, and I’m glad you share your work.

  76. Catherine says:

    Your photos are beautiful!
    Thank you for your visit the other day. 🙂

  77. timkeen40 says:

    I know nothing of photography other than what I think looks good or does not, but I do know that any artistic endeavor is empty without creativity. You certainly can’t play a musical instrument unless you can hear the music. You can’t write a good story unless you can see it in your mind’s eye and you can’t write a poem unless you feel it in your soul. I’ll take creativity over technique every time. Technique can be learned. Creativty is something you either have or don’t have.

    I think this post is great. I do wish I had the photographer’s eye as you obviously do.

    Thanks,
    Tim

  78. Fergiemoto says:

    Great images! Again, great tip and I agree. When I look at photo or artwork, if it pleases me, I usually don’t mind what techniques the artist or photographer used to get there. Whether it’s technical knowledge of the equipment and straight out of the camera, or post processed with photo editing software, etc. There is still skill and an artistic eye involved in its creation.

  79. Geoff says:

    The old adage “It’s not what you’ve got but how you use it” seldom appears so true. Craftmanship come with experience … that ability to repeatedly get great pictures from your subjects … that’s craft. That’s the art.

  80. Looking at those amazing shots makes me believe that I can walk any path, that I can soar and fly if I truly believe. That happiness is just around the corner, ready to be grabbed and be enjoyed. Breathtaking photos my friend…as always! Thank you…

  81. Louis says:

    I like these quotations and would add that there are parallels in other art forms. As a musician I have heard countless performances that were note perfect but ‘dead’. Conversely, I have heard less than perfect performances that communicated an inner warmth and energy, an expressive vitality. Of course, a combination of both aspects produces excellence.

  82. spiderdama says:

    Ah, dette liker jeg! Særlig bilde nr 1.. så mange spørsmål.
    Flott blogg du har her.
    Takk for ditt besøk og kommentar:-)

  83. elmediat says:

    Excellent visual composition and a well thought out post. Another aspect of the art vs. technical can be seen in the issue of the the type of learner/processor . I know for myself and also as a teacher that we all learn and process information in different ways. There is an aspect of technical knowledge & skills that is strongly related to a hands-on learner. I just discovered a student at our school you has never taken an art class with my wife or any other secondary school teacher. He has a wonderful eye for photographic com[position. but in terms of hands-on art skills, nothing. Give him a camera and magic happens.
    I helped him a bit with understanding the basics of photographic composition by pointing out why his pieces are so effective and he can now concentrate developing those strengths .

    • munchow says:

      Thanks for you kind remarks. And yes the learning process is in itself an interesting study. It would be interesting to look at some of this student’s work. Do you post anything on your blog?

      • elmediat says:

        Only my own work, for example the Angelika image is mine, and photos of my wife’s artwork & some of her students’ displays. I encouraged the young fellow to set up a photo-blog after I showed him both my photo & media literacy blogs.

  84. A very illuminating discussion, Otto, and hope for those of us who have a sense of technique and creativity but NOT necessarily the best equipment.

  85. I agree totally, I am learning daily, and he angers me that the people see you with a good equipment they manage to say to you ” it is that with it who does not do good photos “, the equipment helps but it it is not quite, the eye, the sensibility of the person, the studies, etc. They do the set of a good capture. Thank you for sharing these two precious images, I remain with the second one, very good!, embraces

    Estoy totalmente de acuerdo, yo estoy aprendiendo a diario, y me enfada que la gente te ve con un buen equipo llegan a decirte “es que con eso quien no hace buenas fotos”, el equipo ayuda pero no lo es todo, el ojo, la sensibilidad de la persona, los estudios, etc. hacen el conjunto de una buena toma. Gracias por compartir esas dos imágenes preciosas, yo me quedo con la segunda, ¡buenísima!, abrazos

  86. souldipper says:

    This is such a gift. Thank you, Otto. The response speaks gallantly towards your inclusive message!

  87. Your poignant commentary sparks the question: Can you teach creativity or the creative process?
    One of the best books on that subject is The Creative Process by Brewster Ghiselin. Creativity is a subject that I’ve been studying for decades. It’s a never-ending story of the human potential, and how we each see the world through our own lens. The soft monochromatic palette of your photographs is stunning, Sally

    • munchow says:

      You do raise an interesting question. As far as I see it creativity isn’t something that can be taught. I don’t thing anyone can learn creativity as such. But I still think we can all learn methods to release our inherent creativity, and learn how to get in touch with our creative well or source (and I do believe we all have creative potential within us). That is something I try to explore through this blog by mutual exchange of ideas – and by reading as much as possible about the creative process. I have read the book by Brewster Ghiselin which has a lot of interesting thoughts about the creative process by past and present masters of art and thinking.

  88. eof737 says:

    Love that second shot. 😉

  89. I like the second picture than the other two. Why not try to submit it to a monthly photo contest? Showcasing your works and hearing people appreciate it is just as rewarding as winning a photography award. 🙂

    • munchow says:

      The second is my favourite too. As to hearing other people’s opinion, yes, it’s very rewarding, but it’s also time consuming to participate in photo contests, and at the moment I just don’t have the time. But thanks for the suggestion.

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