• 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’ll be where the fantasy comes in 😳

    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 the sound or anything, but because laughter usually heralds the moment when the unknown becomes accepted as a friend.


    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: 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.