In my popular post from two days ago I committed to begin sharing the things that inspire me creatively, as well as the things that challenge me. After I hit publish, I had a pang of trepidation, a gut check: “What the hell am I doing? Now I’ve really put myself in harm’s way. I’ve either got to pretend I know what the hell I’m talking about or struggle thru this ongoing series and say what I believe, one post at time. Simple or complex, refined or juvenile.
And then it hit me. That’s exactly why I hit publish on Sunday night. I was motivated to look more deeply within at what’s motivating the pictures I’m taking. I found a little crack in the shell and I held it apart just long enough to say, “this has got to be done”. So here I go, destined to struggle thru this series, one post at a time.
At one time or another, we all get sideswiped by that little internal voice. It is that nay-saying voice that’s so often the barrier between each of us and our creativity.
Shedding that calculated, censoring voice, is one path to success.
Read more after the jump – click the ‘continue reading’ link below …
A second path comes not in the negation of a voice, but in the acceptance, the humble, strong moments when we actively and WILLINGLY embrace our struggles and passions to find moments of clarity.
Truthfully, I’ll take either path whenever I can get it.
I think that the majority of us–from time to time, in whole or in part–find our potential creative motivators falling into two categories. One pile of us thinks our lives or thoughts or desires or fears are entirely too weird, unusual, or unsafe to be interesting. The other pile of us thinks of our lives or thoughts or desires or fears or motivations as far too normal to be interesting.
Both are bullshit.
C’mon, honestly: Was your drug-addicted, inner-city childhood and your bisexual father too far “out there” to address as motivation for your art? Or was your second-string-on-the-football-team suburban youth and your lost-your-virginity-at-19 upbringing just too white bread to cultivate even one emotional blip on your radar?
Entirely not true.
I’m guessing you’re putting yourself somewhere on that spectrum and unjustly declaring, however quietly to yourself, that your story and all the juices that are percolating inside of you have little creative value, whatever they might be, insignificant or monumental. I say turn off your sensor. You can and should draw powerful inspiration from nearly any personal experience, so long as you’re honest with yourself.
Easier said than done.
For me, this post is part of this process. It takes work. Stressing my muscles helps them grow.
We are more than the sum of our parts. Can we seize those fleeting, honest little moments, whether they’re warm and fuzzy or cold and prickly, and let them drive us?
The one thing I know right at this minute is this: the only chance in hell that any of us have for making even a single piece of art that stops people in their tracks begins with intention and a deeply serious introspection. Sure, I’ll share my other motivators, inpirators, and fears in subsequent posts, I promise. But for now, do yourself a favor and agree with me that–cliches aside–the meat of the creative matter lies within. It’s your personal stamp that counts the most, and everything else is–ultimately–secondary at best.
Now I’d better hit publish before I remind myself that I’ve got nothing interesting to say.
hello from all the way down at the bottom of the post haha 😉 [it’s lonely down here]
It will be interesting to see your thoughts on how you deal with that fuelled and ready to burn creativity, and how creatives eventually combine it [or turn it into…struggling for the right words here] with making money…or I should say a living…from it? It always strikes me as a very honest question when looking at other peoples work…I’m inspired, but ultimately how do they bridge that gap? How do they make this a viable source financially, in order to sustain a future from it, without selling their soul! [Which brings me nicely onto my next paragraph haha]
Working as a photo-journalist for so long on a payroll, now on my own [my own choice] I find myself not only free to explore my own potential and my own dreams, but having to put my own price on them in order to satisfy those functional outside forces, and sometimes those internal forces…like funding a trip to Tibet or buying a Ferrarri 🙂 take your pick.
You are a hell of a writer!
Every shoot that I go on I am petrified, scared and nausus. I have been a working professional for the last three years. Tomorrow is no different I have a job on I am scared. I will probaly go through a thousand scenarios before I arrive at the shoot. It is even worse when it is reportage. I am not a machine gun photographer and if you put my images in frames it would look similar. When I have left the location I am a bag of sweat. I will not rest until the images are downloaded and segregated. The relief I get is the smile on the clients face.
Stupid thing is I actually enjoy this. I was flown out to the States on a job i came back with over hundred images. My editor sat me down and said all he wanted was one really outstanding image.
I have been lucky and got images that others dream off. Sometimes you forget where you are from and what you have become. I want to be successful but for the right reasons.
My last job lasted a year, my boss did not realise what I was capapble off and didnt have the balls to dream. I am a notorious daydreamer and I hate being in the office. I just want to go out and play. Sometimes when you make it look so easy your clients dont realise what sacrifices you make. it is not about art, you are as bad as your last image.
The cadre of people that are in your peer group will never let you forget the mistake you made, regardless how your other set of images are.
I know I suffer from depression, blog sites such as yours help. It shares the pain. It also inspires, when i feel like i wont be able to pull of the next job i look at your ninja set and it perks me up.
I am full of self doubt, i know tonight that I will not be able to sleep before my next shoot tomorrow. Yet I will walk in and become a different person and pull it off. I always do and will but that nagging fear at the back off your mind will always be there.
Use it grasp it and dont try and tame your doubt, walk up to it and spit in its eye. The day I turn up to a shoot and it is not there is the day I hang up my camera.
Good post Chase, raw and human.
Need to talk, you have a friend.
I think that doubt is important. The fear pushes you to do interesting work. If things are easy and you don’t feel concerned about if people will like it or not, then you are just drifting along in a comfort zone.
I find going towards the things that give me the most doubt and concerns tends to produce the most interesting work. Finding the things that I think ‘I can’t do that’ are usually big signposts that shout ‘this is what you should be doing’
Thanks for starting this series. The doubt about being interesting enough is certainly true – worrying that what we don’t wouldn’t be worthy enough or important enough compared to >x