[by Luke Copping]
The notion of the “Big Idea” carries with it some misconceptions.
One of these misconceptions is that we must always be looking forward to find the next big idea – that big ideas must always be equally as new as they are valuable. In truth, there are countless ideas and inspirations laid out behind us too, stretching back into the past and our own lives. As important as it is for us to stay current, assimilate new ideas, and adapt with agility to cultural shifts, I urge you to make time to glean new benefits from lessons you may already have learned…and forgotten.
An afternoon spent leafing through the pages of the art and photography books that made you fall in love with the visual arts in the first place can help you rediscover what you loved about those images. It can evoke that original spark of limitless creative possibility that those works used to make you feel. Approaching those images through the context of you in the present may inspire you with new insights and ideas.
Make time to lay on the couch and read through a sales or marketing book that was already important in helping you make a breakthrough or reach a goal. What can you learn from it now? Can you approach it with a more mature and experienced mind to better process some of its more subtle points? Can you extract all new benefits now by reviewing those core principles again?
Ask a friend about something they read or did that changed the way they think – or dig into a classic you always meant to check out. I know photographers and artists that learn important lessons when they read How to Win Friends & Influence People despite being published in 1936 – the ideas it advocates are by no means new, but they are both important and big.
Watch classic films, listen to your favorite records again, visit museums, and get a library card – learn to love the past as much as you embrace the future – some lessons are timeless for a reason.
Luke Copping is a media junky from Buffalo NY that can’t stop cruising libraries, indie video stores, and museums looking for his next inspiring fix – his work as a commercial and editorial photographer supports his habit.
One Response to 'Big ≠ New'