Cross-creativity

I love photography. Admittedly, I’m not very good at it. (At all). But I’m trying to learn. Yesterday morning I woke up entirely too early for a Sunday and trudged down to Miami Beach for a photography composition class. I spent three hours fiddling with aperture, messing around with shutter speeds and generally trying to not look like that one person in the class who didn’t know what the heck she was doing.

One of the goals of photography is to see things from a different angle. Don’t just stand there and shoot. Get down on your knees. Hop up on a ledge. Peer around buildings. Play around with the unexpected. I was trying out a bunch of angles around a palm tree yesterday when the instructor walked up to me and pointed to two screws stuck in the tree.

“Take a picture of that,” he told me.

“Um, okay,” I said. I stood in front of the screws, put my camera to my eye and shot this.

That’s a decent shot. It’s not very exciting, but it gets the point across that there are two screws stuck in a palm tree. But the instructor just shook his head. “Angles,” he reminded me. “How else can you get that shot?” I stared at the tree, then moved over a foot to the right, pivoted the camera and snapped this.

Whoa! So much more interesting! And that shot was there the whole time, just waiting for me to discover it. Who knew?

Like all things (such as, I don’t know, *cough*writing*cough*), the more you practice, the better you become. That’s why I’m signing up for the 365 Project. The idea is simple. Take a picture a day for an entire year. It can be a self-portrait or a picture of your child or, better yet, a picture of anything you come across that’s interesting. I have friends who’ve done this who swear that it made them better photographers, so I’m giving it a whirl. I have a sneaking suspicion it’s going to make my writing stronger too, without putting one word down on paper.

It’s what I’ve been calling “cross-creativity.” Creativity is creativity, whether it’s sitting behind a computer and hammering out words or standing in a field trying to get the perfect shot of a flower swaying in the wind. Work on one, you work on them all, I think. There’s something about the creative brain that lends itself to a variety of endeavors. That’s why I’m never surprised when I discover my favorite writers are also brilliant musicians, artists, singers, dancers, actors, or, yep, photographers.

What about you? What sort of cross-creativity skills do you have? And are there any photography geniuses out there reading this? And no, I’m not just asking because I want to send you annoying emails asking for tips. Well, not JUST because …

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15 Responses

  1. Susan says:

    How cool! I’m totally jealous of your photography skills/interest. My dad’s a photographer, yet I’ve never been able to get into it… As for the 365 Project, this is full of SO MUCH awesome, I don’t even know what to say. The Great Kat Brauer did this to my great entertainment, and you can see all her photos here (http://theflightytemptress365.wordpress.com/). Are you gonna post yours? Some, I hope. 😀

    As for cross-creativity…um…I make websites and I sing, but it’s all very amateur. Ultimately, I find my scientist side and training have a heck of a lot in common with writing–data analysis and research are surprisingly right-brained endeavors… Do you ever feel that way with law?

    • Meredith says:

      You know, I think I will post mine. It will keep me honest. 😉 I’ve looked at Kat’s pictures before. She’s crazy talented! I can only dream …

      And you are so 100% spot on the money about analysis and research lending itself to creativity. I’ve found my legal career has made me a much better writer. I compare stuff I wrote in college with stuff I wrote in law school with stuff I write today—and total night and day. There’s definitely been a progression. The stuff I write now is so much deeper, so much more analytical and well thought out. I don’t know what your writing was like before, but I know you’re totally a depth kind of writer too. I can see the analysis on your work.

  2. Holly says:

    I love photography. I took a class right after I got out of college and had so much fun with it. Can’t wait to see some of your shots!

  3. Pam Harris says:

    I’ve always thought about getting into photography, but first I want to learn how to play the acoustic guitar I have collecting dust in my closet. :)

  4. Connie says:

    I have a friend who’s a photographer. I can’t wait to tell her about it. Thanks!

  5. Have fun with the 365 project. I know a few people who have done that for several years.

  6. Karen Strong says:

    I like this term “cross-creativity.” I would think that one type would encourage the other.

    Hope you post some of your pictures.

  7. Great post…crazy how much better that second picture is. I hope you post more. I love photography :)

  8. I attempted the 365 Project two years ago; it just made me realise I needed to get out more. I documented pretty much my whole bedroom. Yeah.

    I also like art, although I seem to be doing a lot more consuming than producing. I imagine there would be more cross-creativity if I wasn’t being such a passive consumer, but there is the obvious benefit of looking at pictures and thinking about the story behind it.

  9. LOVE both of these ideas Meredith- the 365 project sounds stellar… and cross-creativity– so true. I think it’s almost about using our brains (for lack of a better term). I find that when I use my brain more, everything gets better, whether it’s research at work, or writing, or even relationships. Hooray for you, and can’t wait to see what you make!

  10. Pingback: Project 365: Week 1 « Meredith McCardle

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