To label ourselves, may be limiting

This week I received an e-mail from a good friend of mine who at the age of 46 has discovered that she's got a talent for drawing and painting. She said that she had always assumed she was a musician and it's been a bit of a surprise to her to find out that she has this other talent for drawing and painting as well.

 Blue Pond Shirogane, Hokkaido, Image © Bruce Percy 2015

Blue Pond Shirogane, Hokkaido, Image © Bruce Percy 2015

The same thing is true of myself. For most of my early adult life, Music was everything to me. I played in bands, wrote music and worked with others at creating songs. I was so serious about what I did that I'd even been offered a publishing deal at one stage. I built a home studio to record all my music and if anyone had asked me up until the age of 33 how I would define myself, I would have said that I was a musician.

Until I reached burn out.

The interesting thing is that everyone else around me was always commenting on my photographs. "Bruce writes music, but you should really see his photographs". I took photography as a very incidental interest - I had owned a camera since the age of 22 and would make the occasional decent photo without really understanding how.

This was more a mind-set than anything to do with my true leanings. I had chosen to see myself as a musician and every other creative outlet was simply just for fun, and into that fun-category, I'd placed my photography.

 Things keep changing, and I keep finding out new things about myself through my art.

Things keep changing, and I keep finding out new things about myself through my art.

Even though my friends could see that I had an aptitude for photography, I could not. I was blind to my own possibilities.

I genuinely believe that if something is right for you - it has a tendency to grow and take on a life of its own. I call it 'positive flow'. When I'm creating work, the best images tend to just come easily. Similarly, with anything in life, if it's right - it tends to have a natural flow to it. When it's not right because maybe the timing is wrong, or 'something' is wrong, it tends to jam, to get stuck. Good artists, I feel, know this. They have a natural intuition that tells them where to go with their work and how best to keep moving forward. It took me a long while to listen to that intuition.

Sometimes who we think we are, or how we see ourselves, may be outdated, Applying labels to ourselves can be limiting, while compartmentalising what we do as creative individuals is perhaps the most restrictive thing we can do.

These days, I try to keep things open. I prefer to see myself as a 'creative person' rather than as a photographer, because It allows my creativity to go wherever it feels it wants to.

With this in mind, I feel I am ready to embrace any new direction that I may go, because I understand that not to, would be a great disservice to my true self.