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Creative software: With less control to more creativity

Technology Last update: Estimated reading time: 2 minutes
Tags: documentary photography, history of photography, Henri Cartier-Bresson, creative software, creativity, Poladroid, Polaroid, Software

How should software be made in order to enhance our creativity? Could it help to include an element of coincidence?

lines of code
Can software help us to be more creative and get new ideas?

Some time ago, I had the idea of creative software when I had a look at the polaroid simulation software Poladroid (a selection of images using this software can be found in the Poladroid pool on Flickr). At first sight, I did not like it because the simulation was too good. You had to drop images to a digital polaroid icon, resulting in a brown square turning slowly into an image. Of course, you could stop the development, but not by dragging a slider in a menu. No, you have to do it by clicking at the right time, when you want the development to stop. This felt too imperfect for my photographer's heart, used to Photoshop.

However, I was wrong. Poladroid does not even want to be a tool with sliders and precise settings, but a tool to enhance creativity. And doesn't creativity always have an element of coincidence?

Coincidence and control, going hand in hand for a great result: the example of Cartier-Bresson

For sure: art includes mastery. Only mastery can make sure you are more than a lucky guy who created a great work of art by chance. But still, if I look at the works by artists I like, I do always also see an element of coincidence. What is the decisive moment of Henri Cartier-Bresson more than a great feeling for the right moment, when coincidence and planning meet and create a creative symbiosis? The moment in the famous photograph when the bicyclist was at the exact right position, adding life to the perfect composition. But was it really entirely in the hand of the great Cartier-Bresson to determine the speed and exact position of the bicyclist?

Software out of our control: an invitation to experiment and play

It is the year of creativity. The question inside my head is: When Photoshop gives us the precise control over the results, what does it do to our creativity? And how can we keep our creativity without losing the precise technology? Sure, in a lot of cases, we do need the precise control of the results. But don't we also need a software out of our control from time to time, like Poladroid, in order to come to creative, surprising solutions? Don't think! is one of the Golden rules of Lomography. Maybe creative software can help us to give up on thinking for a moment and try new paths, where we would have never thought going when relying on the precise slides of our favorite software.