I was sent a link to Neil Gaiman’s wonderful speech today, where although the subject title is ‘make good art’, he really covers how to lead a creative life, and all the aspects of life that come with it.
Watching this video has given me pause, because many of the points he makes, I have either shared, or experienced during my own photographic / commerce journey the past four / five years.
The main point for me, is that ever since I started my own photographic business, I have never created any images because I felt I should. I created what I created, because I wanted to. I’ve found that living a more truthful creative life, has brought rewards for me in more ways that I could have imagined. Not only have I enjoyed what I do more, because my art is ‘me’, but I’ve also attracted many beautiful people and events into my life because they responded to who I am in my pictures. I’ve had many people tell me they felt they knew me before they met me, because they see and feel something in my work.
Neil also covers the point that not knowing what you’re doing, is a good thing. Because you tend to create something fresh and new, and when that happens, there are no rule books out there to say how it should, or shouldn’t be done. So often in life have I felt that the words ‘shouldn’t, or ‘can’t’ are used too frequently. ‘Mustn’t, Shouldn’t, Wouldn’t, Couldn’t’ are all words that should be banned if you want to move forward with your own dreams.
In my own photographic journey, I never set out to copy anyone else’s workshops, photographic style, or ideas. I’ve just run with what I thought would be good ideas because they inspired me to work on them. I’ve gone to certain locations around the world because I was attracted to them. For no other reason. It has all come back to me in spades of positivity as a result of staying true to my own voice.
And having your own voice is vital, if you want to be happy doing what you do.
Above all, Neil covers the point that a creative life is one of surprises and discoveries. I subscribe to this very much and have seen much evidence of great things come my way, all because I set some ideas I thought were good, in motion. I don’t know where I’m going with what I’m doing, and I find that an immensely freeing and inspiring place to be.
I hope you get something out of his speech, because I feel there is a lot of great wisdom in there for all of us. Not just the photographers in us.