Lois Greenfield on creativity

credit: Lois Greenfield

I have a book of Lois Greenfield's dance photography out from the library at present. The photos are pretty darn cool, though I don't deeply love them. What I found fascinating was the included interview, especially her discussion of the distinction between depicting and creating:

"I realized that although people are used to seeing carefully crafted images which glorify the dance, these pictures don't tell you anything more; they don't develop, extend, explore. People would look at one of my pictures of Baryshnikov in a spectacular leap ten feet off the ground and say, 'What a great photograph!', but I knew it wasn't; it was merely a great dance moment competently captured...

I later wrote on Duane Michals — whose outlook has had a profound effect on me--on Man Ray and on Lucas Samaras, all photographers who invent, rather than depict....

When I was in college I went to hear him [Michals] speak at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In this iconoclastic lecture he said to a crowd of Minor White/zone system enthusaists, 'If all your life means to you is water running over rocks, then photograph it, but I want to create something that would not have existed without me.'"

- Lois Greenfield
in interview with William A. Ewing

This idea that creativity means changing something through your experience of it-- making something new, rather than just capturing something that already existed--really engages me.

Greenfield has an online portfolio of her photography here, for the interested.

6 comments:

Cassandra 4/16/2009 1:32 PM  

Oh, I do like that concept of photography and creating a lot...

mixedblessings89 4/17/2009 1:01 AM  

I have so much to say on this subject... I think I'll do a post about it... I loved it, by the way. Thanks :)

Tash 4/17/2009 1:27 PM  

My fave line: "I want to create something that would not have existed without me." It's obnoxious but at the same time, truthful.

Beth Kephart 4/17/2009 3:48 PM  

VERY interesting.

Erin 4/18/2009 12:32 PM  

Oooh. That is very, very interesting to think about. Thank you..

Cuileann 4/19/2009 5:34 PM  

Aditi - Ooh. Looking forward to it.

Tash - Agree, I feel there is a tinge of arrogance to that as well.

Erin - You are welcome!

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