I learned a number of things by doing the +Weekly Photo Project 2015
, but perhaps the most unexpected was that there is a huge difference between being clever and being creative.
I'm not sure I can define the difference. Both have their place, but between the two, I would much rather be creative.
Both imply something new, and perhaps unexpected. But within the confines of photography, and I suspect art in general, cleverness seems to lack any lasting value, and seems to be an expression of the photographer's mind to the exclusion of all else. Creativity, while it may not be as inventive or unique, requires an investment of one's soul or of one's emotions.
It is, I think, this lack of emotional investment, this lack of a piece of oneself, that turns me off to cleverness.
Cleverness can be destructive. I am a computer programmer in my other life, and I have seen more than one (ok, more than a hundred) pieces of code where the programmer clearly thought he was being clever. All of them were junk. Not because they did not work, but because they required a considerable amount of deconstruction to make the slightest change.
Creativity, on the other hand (both in programming and in art), causes me to think, "Wow! That is beautiful!" (In art, it can be beautiful or ugly or raw or frightening or a bunch of other things.)