Igor Stravinsky was a radical. It’s perhaps why I like him so much.
The debut of his ballet, The Rite of Spring (1913), provoked a riot and changed the way music was written forever.
In his captivating book, The Poetics of Music, he describes his terror of sitting down to compose a new piece and realizing that everything and nothing is possible. With so many possibilities he is overwhelmed and can’t possibly create anything at all. It is only upon establishing a key, a time signature, a frame work, and setting up a list of limitations that the creativity begins to flow freely.
In summary, it is only when he inflicts limitations upon himself that his creativity has room to grow.
“The more art is controlled, limited, worked over, the more it is free.” –Igor Stravinsky
One of the great lessons of creativity: It grows in limitation.
Yet how often, do we lament our limitations as burdens to growth rather than the very conditions we need to promote it?
I don’t have a enough money!
I don’t have a nice enough camera!
I don’t have enough training!
The weather here has been horrible!
I don’t have enough business!
I don’t have enough originality?
I don’t have the right looking subjects, the best locations, the right light, the right time of day…
I don’t have enough time.
I don’t… I can’t… etc. etc.
Humanitarian Photographer, David Du Chemin said,
“The more you see constraints as a catalyst to creativity and not a problem to be overcome, the more creative you will become.”
Famous architect, Frank Lloyd Wright:
“Man built most nobly when limitations were at their greatest.”
I had the pleasure of speaking with a fabulous photographer (and past student of mine) a few weeks ago whose work has made a drastic improvement this past year. I asked her what she had been up to and was absolutely fascinated by her response. She admitted that she limited herself to 60 shots in her sessions. That was it. Imagine what that type of limitation would do… it makes you more conscious of your composition, your exposures, your perspectives, your interaction… the results have been fantastic.
Another photographer friend of mine creates breathtaking fine art images on an old used Canon Rebel camera body, proving to herself that she can work beyond the limitation of a low end camera at this time in her life. It’s forced her to perfect her art and to understand light and composition since she can’t rely on shooting high ISO’s and working with a million megapixels of the new pro level DSLRs. She’s now been published by National Geographic and just released her first fine art book. Limitation truly can be a catalyst and not just a problem to overcome.
These women have inspired me to set up some limitations. Its amazing what creative ideas have followed.
Want to be more creative? Identify your limitations or set some in place.
How have your limitations provided the environment for growth?
Brooke Snow is the Professional Photographer for her own family and an Abundant Life Practitioner. She loves tree swings, the month of May, and early morning walks. She lives with her calm husband and adventurous son in Northern Utah. Join her FREE Photo Perspective Photography course for great instruction on easy ways to immediately improve your photos.
As a photographer, she’s been published in Where Women Create and Where Women Cook magazines, featured on the Huffington Post, The $100 Startup, and is a regular contributor to her local NBC lifestyle show Studio 5. A sought after instructor and speaker, when she’s not putting the magic into her next presentation, you can find her drooling over organic recipes, hiking with a mountain buggy carrying precious cargo, and hanging out in her Farm House with her fabulous little clan in Northern Utah.
Her free course Living a Thriving Life is the perfect anecdote for those seeking balance in the midst of chaos. Discover how to create meaning in both your photos and your life at brookesnow.com.