Philly Creative Guide

Guest Columnist

Rick Davis

Making Creative Space
by Rick Davis, 1 Mar 2010

Rick Davis is currently Creative Director / Photographer at Springhouse Films, a video production company in West Chester PA. and owner of Rick Davis Photographic. He is past President of ASMP Philadelphia and currently serves as a Board Member. He is married to Elizabeth Thomas and lives in East Bradford.


We are living in a very creative moment in time but it is getting harder to hear your creative self think.

Technology is expanding exponentially and inexorably on innumerable fronts, changes in business models and known avenues of communication are rocking many of the otherwise stable boats in our world. Changes are moving faster and faster. And we all try in our own way to stay current in areas we feel are critical to our professions or are of interest to us. Consider the changes the computer and interconnectivity have made possible.

  • Type houses were vaporized by Quark and desktop publishing.
  • Graphic content went online, commoditization of photos and art accelerated.
  • Some things we now take for granted only appeared like mushrooms a few years ago.
  • Google is now a verb, books, newspapers and magazines are evolving to online permutations abetted by iPads and Kindles.
  • Wikipedia and crowd sourcing became available to the inquiring mind.
  • Human to human contact is augmented by email, instant messaging, texting, and the newest juggernaught, social networking is considered by many as the ultimate human watering hole.

Rick Davis | Creative Director / Photographer

Being relevant today requires a topical and up to date blog filled with links to other tasty like minded blogs, being friended on facebook, being recommended on Linked In and talking it up on Twitter. Drinking from the digital fire hose is not easy but we humans seem to become more adept as new technology comes at us in bigger jumps over shorter time frames. Many of us create intangible digital ephemera, expressed in zeros and ones and displayed on devices ranging from full screen cinema and jumbotrons to smart phones and other handheld devices.

Print is not dead.....yet but the paradigm is shifting rapidly. Costs for production and distribution of ink on paper are a real determining factor for how long this tangible tactile information delivery system will survive.

For decades, I used to create photographs on film and paper as deliverables, real tangible objects. Now image files are created, tagged with metadata, edited, photoshopped, burned to media and uploaded to the "cloud" (FTP or server of your choice).

Rick Davis | Creative Director / Photographer

Don't get me wrong, I do not pine for the old days of waiting for a Polaroid to "come up" or shooting endless brackets of 4x5 chrome film, redo's because of lab errors and the way I smelled after a day of printing B&W. Not one little bit, thank you very much. New technology theoretically should allow more creativity by allowing greater choices, at greater speed and at less cost. For example the camera on my desk as I write this is a very nice Canon 5D2, capable of stunning HD video and still images on a 21mp full frame sensor, with a gazillion bells and whistles built in and a 16 gigabit CF card that can hold 560 photographs. This and all our new stuff and the stuff over the horizon that we have yet to imagine will make us more productive, but can also make it easier to be creative.

Often I find that the creative flame needs a quiet spot without the gusts of distraction that our culture and professions invite. "Turn off the TV and go play", just like my mom use to yell at me. Get away from the digital deluge, turn it off and go for a walk. Set your mind free to wander with your feet.

Creativity needs fuel too and for me, that means a combination of quiet reflection with fine art, design, music and face to face social interaction with peers. Ideas seldom grow in a vacuum. Debate, discourse, dissent and discussion are all catalyst in igniting the creative flame.

To create is human, and is built in to each of us and may be nurtured or stunted by stimulation or numbing as we choose. Nothing numbs like the noise our modern technology makes.

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