25 Points of Creativity
05. Take Advantage

I am constantly surprised by how underutilized the tools, alternative vistas, angles and vantage points that are all at our disposal tend to be. People seem so stuck in the mud of convenience and the need to feel safe by falling into line, that they lack the will to explore and extract more from what they already have. For sometimes creativity is simply a matter of squeezing the most out of opportunity. It behooves the creative soul to constantly think of new ways to use all the resources available to them.

A case in point is the feature-rich application called flickr. With all its hooks and ladders and buttons and interesting gadgets to push, it is a essentially a funhouse for adults interested in photography. Unfortunately, however, a lot of people don’t see it that way, they either simply use it as a storehouse for photos to share with friends and family, or they perceive it as an “arthouse” of photography. As a result, a lot of people do not take advantage of the program and the awesome virtual world it promises.

Moreover, a lot of people don’t realize that in virtual reality the old rules do not necessarily apply. Granted, many will import rules brought over from the real world just to make things convenient.

Subsequently, opportunities arise to be creative. Thus, via experimentation, the creative, the mavericks, the pioneers bend, if not break, the rules to create new ways and rules of interaction.

For example, on flickr people have the option of marking other photographers as contacts, friends or family. Basic and traditional rules of social engagement suggest to some that this should only be done with permission from the other party or with good “reason.” In turn, one is saying that by reaching out to others in this manner you are indicating some sort of special preference based on their photographs.

Admittedly, at first, I abided by this mode of thinking and found myself only marking those whose work appealed to me. So that like everyone else, I was essentially creating an exclusive club centered around myself and my personal tastes.

As a result, I challenged myself to be creative, to let go of preconceived notions of propriety and simply “mark everyone as a contact,” if only to indicate to myself that I had perused this person’s photos at least once. And being that there are over one million members now, I determined that I would need a way to keep track as I attempted to peruse the lot somewhat systematically.

Moreover, in reality I was not on flickr to expand my social circle. Rather, I use the application primarily to inspire me, to motivate and move me to take more and better pictures.

Likewise, I realized that I love taking “series” of photos, because quite often I found that each new photo of the same scene tended to offer something new. However, the widespread norm was to post one photo of any single thing or scene – maybe out of courtesy to viewers (“Who wants to see the same picture over and over again?”), out of lack of resources (they are on a dial-up internet connection); or they’re still using a 35mm analog camera and the price of film is inherently prohibitive.

Well, since I wasn’t limited in those respects. For not only do I have high-speed access at work and at home, but I also noticed that I was barely using 10% or so of my storage capacity on flickr each month. So, I asked myself, “Why not post as many photos as I am willing and able to do?”

Subsequently, I received a number of notes such as “What’s the Difference?” or “This is the same picture as all the others,” but I stuck to my guns and I think others began to catch on that there were subtle differences to be noticed.

Break Free of the Egolesson 04 lesson 06Break The Rules