What does it mean to be creative? Does it mean that we need to create something original? Is it the power to source ideas and make something that is your own?

Creativity has been a topic I have pondered over for the last several years. Through the many interviews with photographers, designers and artists I have yet to find a clear, definitive answer of what it means to be creative. For some, creativity is an outlet. It is used to send a political message or express an innate idea about the human condition. For one reason or another, humans have been creating, designing and developing their ideas – but how?

The word ‘creative’ has two uses:

  • adjective – relating to or involving the use of the imagination or original ideas to create something.
  • noun – a person whose job involves creative work.

The word ‘creativity’ has this definition:

  • noun – the use of imagination or original ideas to create something; inventiveness.

A woman paints a man with a hat.

Although the two definitions both serve their purpose, I often question the use of the word ‘original’. As technology progresses and culture shifts, are anyone’s ideas truly original? Do we have original thoughts or are they thoughts that have been ‘created’ from others’ works, ideas and inventions? When we paint a painting, we are creating an original painting yes, but are we not adapting styles, themes and ideas from other artists? When we photograph something, are we not thinking about another’s style, type of work and using what we like or dislike about their work to improve ourselves?

As a ‘creative’ person myself, I often look to other photographers, journalists and teachers for inspiration, ideas and ways to improve my own work. Although I create original photographs, lessons and designs, my work is often inspired by another’s. If you are a person who likes to create, next time you’re driving to a location to photograph, or you grab out your paints and canvas and get to work, I want you to truly think about what it means to create something.

How does it make you feel? What type of headspace are you in when you create? Why do you create paintings, photographs or designs? Is it for work and do you enjoy the process of creating?

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