When I first saw this quote, I nodded my head in agreement. Then I saw the accompanying image. The notion of creation and creativity when it comes to photography is something I have struggled with since I picked up a camera. When I paint on canvas or draw on paper, I am indeed “creating something which would not have existed without me.” When I photograph the light coming through the clouds over mountains and a stream, however, I am merely noticing, selecting, and recording what was already there. Even in post-production, I am not so much creating as enhancing. A staged photo with models or a still life could be considered creative, as it was contrived by placing the model or objects and controlling the light. I’m not altogether sure that the image presented here is any more creative than the photograph of water running over rocks that the artist derides in his quote.
“If all your life means to you is water running over rocks, then photograph it, but I want to create something that would not have existed without me.”
— Minor White, photographer
Featured image: Grand Tetons, 1959, Minor White