An Open Letter To The Creative Community: Cultivating Creativity Despite Constraints

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Despite the strange times we find ourselves living in, creativity has never been so important, argues Getty Images creative research project manager Petra O’Halloran in this opinion piece.

Everything has changed and nothing has changed. We’re facing a reality like nothing we’ve experienced before and yet it can feel like life is on pause. We’re also all still human – and humans still crave stories – in many ways, more now than ever before.

As creative contributors, this represents an amazing opportunity. Businesses and brands around the world need images that represent the lives we’re leading today to help them tell those stories. But before you take up creative arms, here are a few things to consider to ensure you’re looking out for you and your craft.

Be safe

There’s nothing we love more than to see how our contributors express themselves. We want to encourage that. But we also want you to stay safe. We recommend keeping up to date with the latest facts around the COVID-19 pandemic, regulations on social interactions and movement.

Embrace your own reality

I firmly believe that creativity is one of the most important facets of humanity right now – it can help us problem solve and pivot. It can help us tell those stories that we need to hear and it can help us see things in a new light.

If you’re feeling constrained, flip it around. Think about restrictions as creative stimuli. For example, do we really need people to capture human moments? If used creatively, everyday objects can symbolise feelings like togetherness, connection, family, security, relaxation and more. Our research tells us brands are on the look out for content that effectively conveys these kinds of concepts without using people.

…at home

Tap into your own surroundings for inspiration. Despite the trends we might hear about out there – #isobaking, getting #quarantoned, dressing up to put the bins out, or puzzling – each of us are dealing with this situation in our own unique ways. How is the reality of lockdown experienced in your world? From what you’re eating, to having a house full of kids, to getting back into long forgotten hobbies, your reality is worth capturing.

…in nature

We’re all craving the outdoors right now more than usual. Are there any unexpected ways you could capture those rare and poignant moments when we come into contact with nature – whether it’s while taking the dog for a walk, looking at our neighbour’s balcony, or watching birds landing in a nearby tree. How can we convey how precious these moments are?

…at work (OK, that’s at home too)

The many challenges of WFH life are perhaps some of the biggest social stories to result from the current crisis. From kids and pets in video calls, to not being able to tear yourself away from the fridge, to making your own mock-up standing desk and poorly-timed technical issues – how can we capture and share the essence of this new work/home reality?

…in new ways

For some, one of the surprises of this new reality is discovering how much more time you have in your day when you take out all your usual out-of-home routines. Why not use this time to challenge your usual approach and style? Learn to shoot video, experiment in photoshop, try a new lens or perfect self-portraiture. With less going on outside the house to leave you filled with FOMO if you stay indoors studying, you might find that the focus you need to take the next step can come a little more easily.

This is a rare time – and for better or worse – some amazing creativity is and will continue to come out of it. Experiment, push boundaries, tell new stories and represent new concepts. I can’t wait to see what you come up wit

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