Are we living in a world where creativity is becoming a luxury rather than a necessity?
The world is becoming less creative right before our very eyes. Most people are focused on rules and regulations rather than incorporating creativity in everything they do. This results in creativity acting as a luxury rather than a necessity. We are now experiencing a creative crisis. Now wait a minute! “That’s impossible” you may say. Well, let’s take a look at past and present creative mediums such as Music, Art and Photography.
Let’s start with the Music Industry. We live in an era where music production is not as difficult as it used to be due to the many technological advancements over the years. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not a music producer nor do I pretend to know what goes into it nor do I claim that it is easy. However, I do know that it has become less creative than what it was back when you needed sheet music and had to invest in the time and effort to put out a physical product such as a record, cassette, or CD. It has become a lot easier to break into the music industry than it was back around the 19th Century. You don’t even have to have a great voice anymore to be #1 on the charts. We can blame autotune for that one.
Let’s take a look at the Hot 100 Billboard Charts of then and now.
Around March of 1970, Simon & Garfunkel were #1 on the charts with “Bridge over Troubled Water.” Here we have a song that is full of raw emotion, beauty, meaning, and structure. We hear two artists that are using their vocals to their full extent. Clear, beautiful melodic harmony.
Now let’s look at the Billboard Charts in the same category for 2018… Drake with his song “God’s Plan.” Click a button here, click a button there, and voila! You have autotune abuse! There is no artistry in this song. You won’t see this sung live sounding the same, ever. Trust me, you can take a look for yourself. There are plenty of online videos showing what Drake and others sounds like with and without autotune. And it’s not just limited to Rap/Hip Hop. It’s in all genres of music. Go check it out for yourself here, here and here. (Warning, some explicit lyrics included).
Back in the era where we had The Beatles, Frank Sinatra, and B.B. King, we saw artists that worked hard to produce music both for records and live entertainment that sounded the same. They could hit the stage and belt out those tunes without missing a beat. Now, most artists are relying on lip syncing and autotune so that they can concentrate more on the dance choreography and their looks on stage. Although there are still plenty of Artists out there that have what it takes to make amazing music, most of them don’t rise to stardom based on their talent these days. This all results in a less creative music industry.
But what about the Art world?
There are so many beautiful works of Art still being produced, however, there are far too many pieces of “Modern/Contemporary Art” that have taken out the beauty and creativity of Art. I understand that Modern Art is considered to be a break from the classics, but there are limits! For example, we once lived in an era that produced detailed, creative, meticulous sculptures such as the classic “David.”
All of the details in this amazing work of art is proof enough at how much passion, determination, imagination and creativeness went into it! It took Michelangelo two years to sculpt this masterpiece!
And then we have this sculpture on the right that looks like a paper mache project created by Elementary School children. It actually looks quite disturbing, in my opinion. This may be creative to some people, however, the argument here is that it is less creative than what once was. This world is so accepting of garbage as art that it has opened the door to allow literal pieces of garbage into high end art galleries that are getting mistaken for actual garbage! How many times have you heard of somebody’s work being tossed out after an art show by the janitors only because it was mistaken for garbage? That is proof enough that creativity has fallen to the level of trash.
Now let’s transition into the world of Photography.
Yup, that’s right, my world! I’ll be the first to admit that even in Photography, there has been a decline in creativeness. As a matter of fact, I’m extremely saddened and heartbroken to say that Photography as a whole is not what it used to be. Now why would I say such a thing? The world is full of photos, right? Well, that’s the problem. Technology once again has taken hold of another artform.
Before there were DSLR’s, we had good ol’ fashioned film producing cameras! Remember when you had to go into the darkroom and develop your own film? I applaud those that still practice this artform! I personally have not developed my own film. *GASP* I know, shame on me! It truly is something I am dying to try out to get out of my comfort zone and get more creative!
During those times, you were forced to be creative with your camera. You didn’t have a little screen on your camera showing you previews of your image. You had to know exactly what you were doing in order to get that perfect shot. There was no room for error, unless you enjoyed wasting film. Now, our mentality is to just take the shot and then fix whatever needs to be fixed in photoshop, lightroom, or whatever software you use. There’s nothing wrong with using editing software, however, it is a lot more satisfying when you know that you got that perfect shot straight out of the camera. I personally feel more accomplished when I see that I don’t need to do any post editing. But let’s face it, the majority of photographers are doing this. Me included!
But it’s not just the dying art of film photography, its the saturation of those good ol’ camera phones.
When was the last time you saw somebody that did NOT have a smartphone with a camera? It’s a pretty rare thing, isn’t it? But do you remember a time when having a camera was the rare thing? What once was a scarcity is now in abundance. And what happens when there is too much of one thing? It loses its value.
Can you take amazing pictures with a camera phone? Absolutely! I, for one, have used my camera phone to take plenty of amazing photos. I’ve even used a very cheap ($5) lens kit to experiment with macro on my smartphone resulting in this image here.
So yes, 100%, you can take beautiful photos with your phone. But, are the majority of people with camera phones using it to take amazing pictures? No. What are they using it for then? Selfies, blurry snapshots, meals and mundane tasks which results in what? You guess it! A less creative world. Everybody is a photographer now.
With this technology brings a new generation of individuals.
This generation focuses more on less creative images such as boring selfies and mundane images. I am not saying there aren’t kids in this generation that aren’t producing amazing art with this amazing technology. On the contrary, there are so many inspiring and fantastic images I have seen as a result of advanced technology. But we aren’t debating whether or not this art is dead. The question is, has it brought down creativity levels in our world? Yes, I believe it has. A new sense of laziness has been brought into photography. Everybody wants to do the same thing. They see an image they really like (especially from Pinterest) and they want to do exactly the same thing which results in millions of very similar, almost identical, images flooding the internet. But don’t mistake this for using other images as inspiration for your own. That’s a completely different discussion.
Every art form has lost a sense of creativity one way or another.
Whether it be music, movies, painting, photography, or writing, they have all become less creative. It’s time to wake up and raise the creative bar again. It’s our responsibility to teach the coming generations the value of an original, imaginative, and creative mind. It is more important now than it ever has been to be able to bring that sense of creativity into everyday life. It is absolutely vital in the development of society.
So let’s get those brains running like crazy with new, innovative, out of this world ideas that will shape our future for the better! Don’t let creativity become a luxury! Pick up that brush, pencil, crayon, camera, guitar or whatever you use and get creative!