Defining Creativity Podcast [November 8, 2022]
S1E17 A Technical Executive—Scientist—Author—Lifelong Classical
Musician's Definition of Creativity with:
Jonathan Phillips combines his expertise as a scientist and as classically trained violist in creativity that permeates all aspects of his life. He explains, "I'm motivated by natural curiosity, my love of creative people and ideas, and my spiritual foundation."
In this episode of the Defining Creativity Podcast, Jonathan shares insight about his journey from Kodak to Google and ultimately to his current position as VP of Imaging Science at Imatest and how his profession has progressed.
“Even before we called [them] digital cameras and digital photography, it was electronic still imaging I believe was the term that was used, so even the terminologies and how we describe technology changes over time. So, moving from the very chemical based imaging to the fully digital based imaging has been the pathway that I’ve been on which naturally leads to learning and creativity and innovation.”
A Colorado Landscape | Photo: Jonathan Phillips
"Because of the physics of illumination, I understand elements within a scene in a completely different way and that helps me determine types of content to take, how to take them, where to stand, what angle…". ~Jonathan Phillips
“I do identify as a scientist as opposed to an engineer and there are differences. I’m definitely an analyst. I think people see what I do and we have conversations and they say, “You’re extremely creative.” But actually, because I’m working with super creative people, I think of myself as the observer, the analyst, the person driving communication between those who are extremely creative (in the label of these are ‘creatives’ on our team at a corporation or company) and someone such as myself who’s really in that interpreter mode. So, for me, science is a study and an approach and an understanding of a field as opposed to the designer, which seems somewhat in conflict then with creativity if I’m not actually creating; but the creativity and being a creator really do have that essence... I want to really understand something very heavily in order then to be able to apply that, but my main focus is analysis and what motivates me because of this natural curiosity. I’ve spent a lot of my career studying the human visual system which is really important to photography and imaging, particularly when it is something that’s interpreted by the human visual system as opposed to the more recent elements of machine vision and artificial intelligence which also runs in parallel. If we think about what artificial intelligence is meaning to do, its meaning to mimic the human processing pathways, generally. And, studying the human visual system and machine vision for cameras, then the elements are there to do recognition and detection such as the human visual system does all the time. So the science of the vision science, color science, perceptual psychology… these are really important elements from the science in order for us to then understand: What are ways we can improve the technology?
Or impact the technology? Or innovate?”