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News & Insight

Stephen King’s Key To Creativity Could Help You Be A More Identifiable Photographer

By Justin Heyes on December 29th 2016

The thing that’s great about kids is that their thought process is being created with a brain that is not fully developed yet; they can bounce through three different realities just waiting for lunch. “We think in a different way as children. We tend to think around corners instead of in straight lines,” say author Steven King.

Children’s emotions are right there on the surface, so what they feel and experience is stronger. So with Stephen King’s dark imagination as an adult, people always wonder what traumatizing experiences happened to him as a child. One of King’s classic interviews about childhood for Public Radio Book Show has resurfaced from nearly three decades ago and has been animated courtesy of Blend for the video series Blank on Blank.


In it, King shares a few thoughts on why the minds of adults are so different from those of children; while explaining that his inclinations toward macabre did not stem out of some childhood trauma that he suffered. It also gives a look at how he was and is able to keep his creative flow state over so many decades.

We’re in a world so saturated with photographers who, in addition, are so frequently trying to shoot pretty much the same images (as evidenced by those who use particularly highly-identifiable presets), that individuality is harder to come by, and creativity is the seed of that. Taking the creative advice of someone like King could help retrain your mind to think and shoot more creatively, avoiding the trappings of a copycat economy.

It is difficult to explain to people that while what you create might have elements of yourself in it, but it is not always you. King’s viewpoint more like a person taking what they know about the world, then attempt to deduce what a fictional person might do in a given situation. Stating a person that writes about horrible things must have bad experiences themselves, is like saying Mads Mikkelsen probably enjoys eating people because he portrays someone who does so well.


Adults often wonder what it is like in the mind of child. They have forgotten what strange and exotic fantasies exist in a child’s mind. Children of a certain age haven’t really developed empathy yet so they can be ruthless and in the same turn are bright-eyed and not jaded to the world. They don’t think about if their art is cliche or that others will hate it, they tend to do it for the love of it. I tend to believe that photographers like 9-year-old Regina Wylie and 7-year-old Hawkeye Huey are so popular is because they have an authentic child-like wonder in their images.

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Justin Heyes wants to live in a world where we have near misses and absolute hits; great love and small disasters. Starting his career as a gaffer, he has done work for QVC and The Rachel Ray Show, but quickly fell in love with photography. When he’s not building arcade machines, you can find him at local flea markets or attending car shows.

Explore his photographic endeavors here.

Website: Justin Heyes
Instagram: @jheyesphoto

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  1. Donna Macauley

    I highly recommend that any creative read Stephen King’s “On Writing.”

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