Quote Originally Posted by Photo Engineer View Post
This philosophy - "the more you know, the worse the results will be" - has been found valid in many fields. It has even been published in respected journals. Some believe that there is an upward curve in creativity and productivity as we learn, and that this will peak and then begin to decline as we learn more. Some say that with too much knowledge, you begin to outthink yourself. Or, you can put more "knowledge" into a project and less creativity.

Whatever the reason, I have heard this same theme since the '50s.



I think it is invariable true. Once we know too much, the creative process is hindered because we immediately start doubting ourselves and look for answers in the wrong places. What if I used Pyrocat instead of XTOL? Or that paper instead of that paper, or Zone System, BTZS or just sunny 16? Will my images be better if toned? All efforts go into acquiring a deeper knowledge of process, which almost always lead to obsessions that are concentrated in the wrong places. Whether we apply that knowledge judiciously is irrelevant because the damage has already been done, since we no longer concentrate on content but only on what comes after, which most of the time means making up with process for what would just be a simple photograph. I don't think there is necessarily a right or wrong, but it is certainly true that, applied to photojournalism, technique is irrelevant and too much knowledge only leads to decreased creativity.