David H Lyman


How to be more creative?

David answers that question during the Monday Morning Lecture he gave each week for 30 years at The Workshops. It begins with   Personal Work, projects you do for yourself,  then, put the work up on a wall and let it tell what it needs, join a peer group, find a mentor, stumble around for a while and find out who you are.   Photo 2006 by Karen Ballard.

My Creative Discoveries

As I was developing my career as a creative writer and photographer, this question plagued me. So, I began researching this 50 years ago. I was fortunate in those days to be surrounded by creative people: photographers, writers, filmmakers, journalists, and producers—people whose jobs required a high level of creativity. To be creative, you have to keep coming up with new, innovative solutions to the projects you work on.

I was discovering that creativity was a way of working and being. Creativity is how you approach every aspect of your life.

Fifty years ago this summer (June 1973), I launched a summer school for my fellow photographers. It wasn’t because I had anything to teach, but precisely because I had a lot to learn. We started out in a former barrel-makers’ shop overlooking Rockport Harbor on the Maine Coast. I got to invite the most creative and accomplished writers, directors, and photographers to spend a week with me in Maine, each leading a master class of 10 to 15 up-and-coming creators and those who wanted to be more creative.

Over the next 30 years, my faculty, staff, and I transformed that summer school into a year-round, internationally known conservatory for the world's creative storytellers and image-makers, The Maine Photographic Workshops. It became known simply as The Workshops, for it became a place where people came to work to learn by doing, by trying new ways of working, exploring the process, and growing and discovering their own unique creativity.

The Lecture

Each Monday morning, for 30 summers, I shared my research and discoveries with each week’s newly arrived workshop and master classes. My Monday morning lecture showed who we are as creative people and what allowed some to be more creative than others. After all, science is telling us only 8% of the population is truly creative, and that’s a good thing. Too much creativity, and things become too crazy. Nothing ever gets finished.

By watching what was going on in the classes each week, I was learning how we can release more of our innate creativity. The ideas in that lecture helped many unleash the creativity they had within them all along, just hiding.

I simply showed them what it was to be creative and gave them permission to be creative that week.

After 35 years as the school’s director, in 2007, I turned my school—which by now had also become a college with a graduate degree program—to a non-profit, Maine Media.

On this, The Workshops' 50th summer, Maine Media asked me to give what was my traditional Monday Morning Lecture on Creativity. That hour-long lecture  was recorded during a Zoom webinar in  September and it's available on the link is below.  

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Here the link to Zoon Lecture