Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Rules Are Made to Be Broken

Henry Moore, Reclining Figure, 1951, Fitzwilli...
Henry Moore, Reclining Figure, 1951, Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
by Kerri Williams

Let's talk about rules. Rules abound for good reason. They keep us honest; they keep us true; they protect us.

Now let's turn around and talk about breaking the rules. Often the consequences are grave when rules are broken (of course, the gravity depends on which rule was broken).

But today we're talking about creative rules. Recently a forum spoke of broken photography rules, which brings us to the purist, and it's likely that most creative endeavors host a purist.

What's a purist, you ask? A purist is the creative that believes if you venture outside the lines while coloring, you've taken the craft and pretty much sullied it. You've made it unpure.

As an example, we'll use the world of photography. In the photography world, one of the rules a purist abides by is that an image should never be altered. The purist doesn't believe in image altering.

The purist believes what comes from the camera is the final product and anything otherwise is not true photography.

There are many arguments to this point defending the creative who ventures beyond the camera image, but as we're talking about creativity in general, it's not worth bringing the argument back to the surface.

Taking this back to the full creative scope, there most likely exists a purist in every creative medium.

Sadly, the purist attitude hinders creative growth. The idea of creativity is to the push the edge, to move beyond the norm and create far past even our own expectations. It's been said there's nothing new under the sun, that everything's been done, and basically we're all creating based on someone else's idea.

While this may or may not be true, I'll leave that up to you to decide, even creating based on something else pushes our own envelope and moves us to try something different. If we don't know it, it's new to us.

Creativity is constant experimenting, constant learning. The bottom line being that there are no rules in creativity.

But wait, let's back up a minute. There are rules. Specific rules you learned when you started your craft. Okay, now fast forward. Really, as a creative, how many of you are still following the rules?

How many of you have taken one rule after another and broken it down into something else, something that is uniquely you? How many of you have grown in your craft because you dared to break the rules?

If you've broken the rules, congratulations. If you're still following every rule you've ever learned about your craft and making no move to try something different, you just might be a purist.

Nothing wrong with that, we're all entitled to our own opinion, but allowing that opinion to hinder someone else's creativity should be a constantly broken rule.

Difference is what makes us unique. It's what gives our craft the edge we push for.

Don't fear breaking the creative rules you've learned. As with all rules, they're there for good reason, but breaking them doesn't end is grave consequences. Breaking the rules ends with astounding beauty.

Kerri Williams is a freelance photographer and writer on a lifelong creative journey. You can learn more about her photography and view her work at http://www.magpistudios.com.

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