Developing a photographic image is an act of creativity. The famous photographer Ansel Adams said, “The negative is comparable to the composer’s score and the print to its performance. Each performance differs in subtle ways.”
Another way of looking at this is that each image has the potential to be expressed in many ways. When I bring an image from my camera into my editing software, I can take the image in many directions. Do I want to convert it to black and white? Do I want a highly saturated image or one that has softer tones? Does it need to be cropped or corrected in any way? And so on. The image I end up with can look quite different from the one I started out with.
These creative decisions actually begin in the camera, as I compose the image, deciding which elements to include and which to exclude, and as I choose which settings to use and what type of image to make–long exposure, time lapse, astro, macro, etc.
Human creativity is a way of reflecting and participating in God’s creativity. The photographic negative we start out with in this case might be our life or our world. The creative choices we make along the way affect how things look in the end.
One difference, however, is that we are continually developing the “negative” of our life. The choices we make affect who we are and who we become. We look to God, the “Prime Photographer,” for instruction and support in making good choices. The question is in what ways will we develop our potential? What is our vision of human life, and how do we use our creativity to go about achieving it?
“For from the greatness and beauty of created things comes a corresponding perception of their Creator.” (Wisdom 13:5)