The medium of digital photography has not been around for very long, perhaps 10 years or so in its current “serious” guise. Before that there were some digital camera efforts but nothing that could compete with film. Indeed, I owned one of those early “cameras.” It was shaped like a VHS cassette, was about as wieldy, could snap a picture at a whopping 1 megapixel, and had a refresh rate (the speed at which the photographer could shoot another picture) of about 10 seconds. I carried that thing everywhere. I had to. I had a job traveling the United States and I even made forays to Malaysia and Japan with it, attempting to chronicle my journeys. It wasn’t a great camera, but I could share images of my travels with friends and family back home over this newish thing called “email.”
In today’s world of high megapixel, digital single lens reflex cameras with the capability of shooting HD video, that box-like camera is the equivalent of the photographic Edsel. But something happened during my tenure with the box. A drive was unleashed within me. The ease and availability of the digital image provided a medium for the creative urge in me to express itself. It is almost as if my soul was waiting for a way to talk and “the box” gave it a voice.
I have a funny feeling I am not so different from others; the democratization of photography through the advent of digital imaging and the computer age has provided us a medium to express our soul where before we might have lacked the skill in more “traditional” arts, or the money to do so. And I think it is great.
There appears to be a drive within we humans; a drive toward creativity. Shelter and food are a couple of the rudimentary necessities that our ancestors strove to provide, but they (and we) don’t just stop there. No. We decorate. We become chefs! We become interior decorators. We invent (or at least the French do) haut-cuisine. We create! That’s what we do once our basic needs are met. (Heck, even that male peacock in the picture above does it, although perhaps his drive is fueled by hubris. Who knows.)
I have met many people along my journey that have their basic needs met but feel something is missing. Some say they lost their mojo. Others have it a bit worse and suffer depression. Some describe it as being empty inside. All, it seems to me, have had their drive to creativity thwarted for some reason. The current climate of democratized photography has helped to stem that tide somewhat and allowed millions of people a voice and a creative outlet that previously was not available. And that is a good thing.
Digital photography has helped provide some meaning and creativity in my life, how does it do so in yours? How do you create? I would love to hear how you bring aliveness to your life and to the world through creativity.