• Creativity – how far can you take a trolley?

    It was this little trolley’s fate to be launched into a London canal – though of course lovingly hauled out again, dried off, and taken back to its owner, no worse for wear.


    I’m shooting this one for me: it’s a four-parter of a fantastical world where all trolleys are free to follow their dreams, and reach their full potentials. Thinking trolleys … yeah, fine. Beings reaching their full potential … ahh, that sounds more like fantasy 😳

    I wanted to share a little story about this shoot because people are generally mixed up when it comes to creativity, and think of it as a thing we do, rather than something that’s a part of who we are.

    Which is understandable if you don’t realise that the best way to be creative, is to cultivate laughter – not because of what it sounds like, but because it usually heralds that magical moment when you become friends with the unknown. It’s the moment when you relax and start to play with reality, rather than being uptight while trying to change it.


    Back to the shoot. Of course there were lots of little problems to creatively overcome (like where could I shoot it, who could I shoot it with, how would I keep them safe or warm or invested, what would they wear, what would I do if it rained, would I need a bigger budget?). But for every shoot there’s always that one big whopper of a problem, and in this case it was pretty simple: isn’t this all just plain old stupid?!

    It’s frustrating when it feels like you’re in a creative hole, and it’s easy to think that you’d find the solution if only you could do this, or see it like that. But as a person whose creative chops are on the line for each and every job I do, I can vouch that that’s not the key. The key comes from what I said before: Creativity comes when you accept something unknown, as you would a friend.

    So to back up a little bit: I’m in a canal, taking photographs of a guy wearing a headband, he’s pretending to row a submerged shopping trolley and we’re probably both worrying about our life prospects, and then, just like in a war film, both my legs go cold, and I realise that my specially purchased waders have sprung a leak. Soon enough there’s as much water inside as out, and I can’t help think: isn’t this just plain old stupid?!


    Yes is the answer, but thankfully that was the wrong question. The right question, and the key to creativity is, have I put myself into a position where I can make friends with the unknown. Am I able to welcome it in without requiring it to change?

    The key is that creativity isn’t something you do, it’s something you invite round for tea.