What do I mean by this? default in the dictionary terms means to fail financially. But in terms of creativity, it means to me, your normal, your nature, your baseline, your go-to. And as creative’s, we strive to better ourselves, push the bounders to express or change the way we see and think all the time. So why do most of us, do the same thing over and over again. Why are we so consistent with our default way of creating?
It’s hard just pumping out content all the time, making art and expressing yourself to no end. But for some reason, we feel completed to do it. For strangers to see, look at, feel, appreciate and share. We all have good intentions to tell our story to show the world how we see it. But deep down, we all know the truth, our intentions are selfish and narcissistic. Let me explain.
I’ve been contemplating Instagram, social media, feeding the beast, wondering when it will show its appreciation. When will it be my time in the spot-light? Dilutions of grandeur. If your taking photographs, if your creating for anyone other than yourself you will hit a wall of ‘why?’.
It’s called many things, burnout, a holiday, self-reflection, personal time or recharging your batteries. Whatever you call it, it’s OK to step away from your craft, it might even be necessary. For myself, I put the camera down, stoped writing and deleted my social media from my phone for two months, I needed to step away and take a creative break. This is why you might need it too.
For most of us, we end up reasoning by analogy because we’ve had the ‘why’ question beaten out of us. Naturally, we are born with reasoning by first principles, but our parents, guardians, teacher and mentors eventual put their foot down and say something like because I said so. Our curious mind and quest for reason and answers are destroyed by an authority. Do as I say, because I said so, don’t question me, I’m the chef, your just the cook follow the recipe.
As artists, we all know what good work looks like. We know it’s difficult to achieve good work, but we strive regardless. It can sometimes feel like we are Sisyphus, but instead, we never reach the peak of the mountain. The road to becoming a successful artist however you interpret it can be arduous, for there isn’t a standard path. In our hearts we know we can’t just follow a guidebook, mentor or degree to reach it. Which can be frustrating, the not knowing. The passage one must take is unprecedented, a route only an individual can charter through.
What if you had the same camera, lighting and subject matter as everyone else. A groundhog day for a photographer so to speak. If we all have the same gear what would make you different? “Imagine you had no way of visually showing someone any of your work, and they ask you to describe what you’re about, not your genre, but what is the essence of what you’re trying to achieve?” This quote from Katy Niker is something we should all think about and consider when pressing the shutter button. What is it that you’re trying to achieve beyond visuals?
Before I write I think to myself what can I communicate that will bring value to my readers. Should I write a gear review because these kinds of articles get the most interactions, but they get the least meaningful responses? When I write about value, meaning, purpose, finding yourself, discipline these articles get fare fewer readers but more significant responses. The question is do I want reach or depth? But even contemplating this kind of thought is what I call The Editor’s Mind, thinking, and trying to control something before it has even happened.
I just read a book covering the benefits of nature and how it helps improve human health among many other claims. I’m sure many of you would question or speculate on the validity of these claims and I did too. One thing I did read that interested me, taking a walk in nature, away from the noises and sights of the city along with the absence of digital screens, improves creativity.
There is something all-newcomer photographers tend to do, they either dream of camera gear or buy a lot of it. When I started in photography I went through the same thing. I thought that I needed all the lenses that my idols used, I believed I needed the biggest megapixel camera, with all the film features just in case a potential client wanted video. But over time with age came wisdom.