A Great Take on the “Rules”

This is from David Bean, a friend of mine and very accomplished photographer here in Nashville.  David is always thinking outside of the box, as do a lot of creative types.  I loved his take on the rules, and how it’s ok to give yourself permission to bend them every now and then.  Just as we need to work our physical muscles we need to work our creative muscles (as David so creatively calls it).  Enjoy this blog post, and work those creative muscles:


Rules don’t Rule (& How to teach kids to be creative.)

Photo by Samantha Bean

When I got started in photography, the one thing that crippled me for the longest time was a misconception that there was only 1 or 2 right ways to do things in photography. I had read so much and thought that if I didn’t light “the way” I read in books I was lighting incorrectly, if I didn’t compose the “right” way I was taking bad photos. It really kept me from taking photos that were anything but just plain “average.” It was then that I realized if I was going to be successful, I needed to take what I knew and create my own rules.

I’m all for learning “the rules” of photography. It’s important to learn good composition, lighting, etc., but it’s just as important to go beyond mere rules to genuine creativity. Creating art by merely following rules is a lot like getting married just so you don’t have to be alone. There’s no passion and it will show. Your art will be stale and people will rarely take notice of it.

You may have heard similar thoughts before, but I’ve learned something recently with my 10 year old son that I think will help anyone with children teach them how to think more creatively.

My son and I were playing Jenga the other day when I decided to try something different with him. After the first game I had us turn the pieces on their sides and instead of the 3 x 3 configuration we made a 5 x5 one. That was fun, so then we turned them straight up and down and played another totally different version. Since then we’ve taken games and played them all kinds of fun and interesting ways that were never intended by the manufacturers.

I have started doing this intentionally with him because he really wants to be an inventor someday. I really want him to grow up not feeling confined by the rules of “how things are done.” Taking a game and creating your own version/changing the rules is a small step that I feel builds a foundation of positive rule-breaking and out-of-the-box thinking. Since I’ve realized this I am making it a mission of mine to build a foundation of creativity in his life through small life lessons.

For those of us who aren’t kids anymore, it’s never to late to build and exercise your creative muscles. Make a point this week to do something in a new and different way.