In Pep Talks, Quoted, Thoughts & Theory, Vision Is Better by David11 Comments


Creativity is the sudden cessation of stupidity. – Edwin Land

Creativity comes from trust. Trust your instincts. And never hope more than you work. – Rita Mae Brown

Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep. – Scott Adams

A few years ago I had one of those mind-altering epiphanies and before you jump to conclusions, it was completely drug-free. I picked up, and read, Joey Reiman’s Thinking For a Living. Amazing. Made me see, among other things, that creativity is an asset, and harnessed well you can live on it. How many of us would love to make a living doing what we love, being paid to do what we do anyways, just for the love of it? Reiman is a former ad-exec, so the book is written from that angle. One day he’s running an ad agency and overnight he realizes that the clients are essentially paying for the ads to be executed but getting the creativity and the thinking for free. So he switched gears and turned his former ad agency into an ideation firm. Now they get paid to think and should the client so choose, they’ll execute the idea as well.

There’s a couple take-away nuggets in this for photographers. 1. Find the book and read it. 2. You should be selling your creativity and vision, not your ability to wield a camera. If you sell the former then the price is higher because there’s only one of you. If you sell the latter, the price is lower, because these days everyone claims to be a photographer. Simple supply and demand. Scarcity drives the price up. Your creativity and vision is an asset. For those of you that skipped Vision Week because it had “no real world application,” you should go back and read the articles and discussions. If you think creativity and vision are not the rarest of commodities and therefore valuable, well you couldn’t be more wronger. ๐Ÿ™‚

Furthermore. You should read Hugh MacLeod’s How To Be Creative, and that’s available free as a PDF right HERE. I’m halfway through it and it’s fantastic.

Lastly, if you are in Vancouver, be sure to check out Creative Mix, Vancouver’s Ideation Conference. It’s a one day conference about creativity and pulls together an astonishing array of speakers at the top of their fields as creatives. There’s a chef, a juggler, businessmen, designers, a photographer (I’ll be speaking on Creativity and Constraint) and others. More info HERE. It’s just gaining momentum and the site’s not complete, but this is going to be great day. Book time off to be there. Thursday, October 22. At the Roundhouse in Vancouver.


  1. David,
    Sometimes your posts are guilty of being “out there” other times they are “helpful”. This is a case of a post being “essential”. Too many of us consider themselves pros because they can use a camera. Others, however, have a vision. I have know about the former and now I am in the process of perfecting the latter.
    Thank you.

  2. With all this reading you’ve got us doing, when are we going to take photos? ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. David, thanks for more of your good stuff. Your post reminded me of Joe McNally’s post today (over on Kelby’s guest blog), namely, the mentoring and the sharing. So thanks. Maybe I’ll see you in Vancouver next October. Been looking for a reason to get back there.

  4. “The artist begins with a vision — a creative operation requiring an effort. Creativity takes courage.”
    —- Henri Matisse 1869-1954

  5. Just bought a copy of Reiman’s book online for $1.66. There are no excuses for passing this one by.

  6. I agree with your core point, and of course it applies to all avenues of creative work. The great designer Paula Scher was asked to come up with a logo for the new CITI group. She did so, and very quickly. The client loved it – until they received the bill. They struggled with what was a relatively huge bill for such a quick job. Her response – they were being charged for the thinking, the constant studying of design, the hours spent in museums etc. In other words, for the creative energy and mindset, the dedication to craft.

    When I experience a great photograph and absorb it’s story, I appreciate the thought and talent behind it.

  7. Thanks for the post – great reading & great thinking. So glad I stumbled on your blog via twitter ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. Author

    You’re welcome! If you ever want a cup of coffee and a chat, I’m in. Wish I were getting married all over again just so I could bring you two to shoot it – spectacular work.

  9. Pingback: Creativity Article and Candid Portraits

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