Creativity is often about recognizing the value of accidents.
Silly Putty, for example, was the accidental result of the search for a synthetic rubber during World War II. Saccharin came about in 1879 as chemist Constantin Fahlberg was trying to come up with a new use for coal-tar.
I recently experienced the value of unintended consequences last week during a casual photo shoot.
They day was particularly windy in New York. I thought I’d capture the feeling of the wind by shooting some trees blowing violently in the gusts.
I chose a slow shutter speed to create a blurred effect.
But since it was midday with the sun shining brightly, my camera simply could not “stop down” enough to provide a “proper” exposure.
What resulted when I first viewed the shots in the digital viewer was all “blown out.” The shots, I thought, would be useless.
But when I brought the photos into the computer and viewed them full-size, I saw that this “error” actually worked in my favor, creating a painterly image of the trees that would not have resulted had I been able to expose them properly.
The lesson here it to keep alert and open throughout the creative process.
It’s often what we don’t intend which delivers the most creative and satisfying result.