Inspiration & creativity – these are the two words that make my heart tingle.
In my opinion, they are undeniably interlinked by means of inspiration being a vital catalyst for creativity – a way in which an idea can be metamorphosized into existence. One of my favourite books from 2015 is “Big Magic” by Elizabeth Gilbert. In one of the chapters she writes “ideas are driven by a single impulse: to be made manifest.”
I often find myself contemplating whether or not drawing inspiration from other artists in our field compromises our level of originality. It seems to be common practice for photographers, designers etc… to turn to social media platforms like Pinterest and Instagram to search for inspiration. From my experience, what ends up happening is that the work somehow starts getting reproduced in one form or another (one of the ways that trends develop). My question is, do these types of practices hinder creativity?
If something has already been done before, can it be interpreted in an original way? Do any of you have these thoughts at times?
Luckily, I had the opportunity to pose this question to Liz Gilbert herself back in 2015 at a book reading that she held in Heidelberg, Germany. I referred to a statement that she made in the book: “These days, I’m far more moved by authenticity. If your work is authentic enough, believe me – it will feel original.”
Paraphrasing, her reply was that I listen to the drive inside of me to create something, even if it has been done before. She emphasised that I note the main difference: it hasn’t yet been done by me! And as long as I stay true to myself in creating it, that is what makes it authentic, which in turn makes it feel original.
I LOVE that!
At the same time, I am becoming more mindful about where I draw inspirations from. I am now making a conscious effort to veer away from just looking at other photographers’ beautiful works (also as a means to avoid emulation) and rather find other avenues to keep my mind fresh and fuel my imagination.
This frame of mind has really helped me in pursuing my creative aspirations.
What is your take on this topic?