Education

Developing Creativity Without Losing Visual Integrity

By Ellen Clipson - 5 min read

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There is no single route towards finding your creative maturity. We’ve gathered some tips on how to break down your creative approach, and build your personal framework as a photographer.

Choosing to analyze why you produce the content you do, and evaluating the ways that you produce it can enable you to develop your creative style without losing your authenticity. As creatives, how do we ensure that the progression our visual voice doesn’t cause a lack of direction?

mountain, beauty in nature, scenics - nature, sky, mountain range

Images Should Embrace Change and Remain Authentic

Keep Yourself on Your Toes

If you want to be consistent with self-analyzing your creative direction you must also be consistent with putting yourself in ‘unfamiliar’ situations. It is a common understanding that exposure to new cultures, new people or new natural landscapes will expand your creative opportunities and diversify the visual stories you tell. However, finding the ‘unfamiliar’ right in your local neighbourhood, or better yet within your own home shows maturity in your creative mindset. To test the creative integrity of your work, the key is to be consistent in your search for inspiration.

Vulnerability is Key

To be creative, is to be vulnerable. You can break up your creative approach, even make it possible for others to replicate it, but it is impossible to take the you out of your ideas. Creative maturity rather than lack of direction, is found when when you actively seek opportunities to be vulnerable in your creative process. In our feature ‘How to Connect With Your Subjects and Be Your Own Creative Director’, Chèrmelle Edwards sums it up perfectly: “My inner dialogue shifted to not trying to bridge the gap but fix it. Instead of still creating and publishing for the sake of not doing it, I found myself.” To authentically develop our visual voice, we must be mindful of the gaps, rather than shy away from them.

multiple image, young men, portrait, front view, indoors

Top Tip: Don’t surround yourself with only the creatively minded. Initiating regular conversations with non-creative accountability structures allows you to question the foundation of your creative thinking.

silhouette, sky, sunset, nature, one person

Seek Accountability

To be creatively vulnerable extends far beyond yourself. To ensure that the changes in your visual voice still represent who you are, and what you value, it is vital to establish opportunities for others to question your style and techniques. You may find the accountability that you need through EyeEm community, or those people you feel close to. Maybe it’s self established, such as a specific project or exhibition deadline. Whatever your framework may be, rather than encouraging you, it should encourage your ability to reflect and analyze your work. It is in the moments when you feel uncomfortable that your visual voice is established as a natural response.

Second Thoughts are the Right Thoughts

To have integrity in your creative style you must be intentional about the influences that you want to integrate into your creative process. Our #NotYourCliche reminds us that we cannot be passive when it comes to the values in which we prioritize in our visual storytelling. To be concious of your creative thinking, actually set time aside on a regular basis to recognise and question what influences your thoughts. External influences are, and should be ever-changing, however the process in which you filter and focus your priorities should remain the same.

one person, front view, real people, indoors, young adult

Measuring Maturity

Analyzing the direction and impact of your content requires a form of meausrement. By establishing your aims with a ‘mission statement’ allows you to be intentional about every artisitc decision. Write down everything that sumarises your creativity - what you want to achieve, and how you want to achieve it - and then start combining those sentences until you have your statement. It’s important to remember that when it comes to establishing your visual voice, this should not be the first step. Before you write your mission statement you must first learn the story in which you want to tell. This creative foundation takes time to build, and can only be achieved through trial and error. The idea is that each individual project you do, whether it be big or small, will always align with your mission statement. If this is the case you know that you have a cornerstone for your creativity.

shadow, one person, close-up, real people, high angle view

The route to establishing creative maturity looks different for each of us. The challenge is building a personal framework that will equip you to question your artistic decisions every step of the way. As your ideas and techniques diversify, your creative integrity should be re-established in those changes, rather than be directed by them.

architecture, full length, real people, built structure, one person

Want to get more creative insights? Take a look at all of our Education features here.