Or is it creative AND analytical? These two traits are often treated as being mutually exclusive, and further, traits that one either has or doesn’t have. In reality, it’s the combination of these that truly makes the successful photographer (and many other endeavors).
It’s not enough to simply know THAT something exists, but one must also know WHY it exists. If a photographer looks at a picture or scene for example, and determines that they like it, but don’t know why, then the chance of conveying their reaction and emotion to someone else becomes particularly challenging. One must have sufficient analytical skills to understand, and sufficient creative skills to be able to “see” the unseen. One must have both, but the order doesn’t matter.
There’s a style or approach to photography that some photographers have, best described as “I’ll know it when I see it”. It’s an approach that relies on serendipity (or “luck”) in order for the photographer to capture a compelling image. There’s another approach that tends to be more analytical where one might consider what’s important, what composition best presents those elements, and what techniques will emphasize and convey a sense of meaning, emotion, or story-telling. But simply following these mechanics and “rules” may not result in a meaningful or compelling image.
Both the creative and analytical approaches require something in common of the photographer…observation, and study. It’s the openness of the mind to observation that “sees” the possibilities, and creates the potential to understand what is being seen. It’s the combination of these skills that allows the photographer to be a successful story-teller through their work. Regardless of the genre of photography, a successful photographer must combine a creative as well as analytical approach to bring a three-dimensional world to their viewer via a two-dimensional representation.
“I’ll know it when I see it, and I’ll know why…”
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