[Note: I’m working hard to produce both audio and video versions of the Creative Concepts podcast. Usually this means I’ll record a video at one time and then do an audio version at another time. This particular installment was an experiment to see how I might combine the two. Clearly the video quality isn’t that great, but I hope you’ll find the subject matter compelling…]
I have had such an epiphany of late. A lot of little things came together to change so many things. One of those was watching a documentary about photography. And the thing that really impressed me was the variety of approaches to photography within this particular documentary. There were photographers with these elaborate large format cameras and another with a studio lighting setup… but there also photographers with these little dingy little digital cameras. And one woman was talking about how she thought every good photograph had ghosts in it. This totally blew my mind because in my world, in my head, there’s a whole list of criteria that have to be met before I can take photographs. You know, the lighting has to be good, and the weather has to be good and I have to make sure the memory card has plenty of room on it and the camera battery is charged… and, perhaps most problematic of the lot, I have to be IN THE MOOD (whatever that means!).
And there is also this fear I have about not being taken seriously… You know to be a ‘real photographer’ in my own mind – and I imagine in the minds of others – I have to meet those criteria. I have to use the really expensive camera and I have to guard my photographs closely and not let anyone see anything I haven’t decided is ‘perfect.’ Because, truthfully, there’s a still a part of me that is so eager to please people and wants to be celebrated. And I think to myself sometimes “If only I make the most clever, most profound, most serious, most whatever thing…” it will all come together for me. And frankly I’m not sure I yield that kind of power over anyone, whether the work is good or bad. And wouldn’t it be better if I liked the work, if I liked the process of creating the work?
Then I had to realise that there had been times when I actually had liked the work. Infact I wrote this song “Born To Lose You” that I was so incredibly proud of. I liked it in it’s musical form and the lyrics really articulated something I needed to articulate. But then I shared it with some people and they didn’t understand it and I decided sort of after the fact that it must really be quite awful… and that is just a horrible place to be as an artist, to be sitting in the back rows looking at how people react to you and second guessing every creative decision you’ve made.
So you know when people say – hell, when I say – just get started it means JUST GET STARTED. And I know you’re all sitting there yelling and throwing things at the screen because I’m like that clueless person in the slasher film who is standing right in front of the killer because like DUH! Who knew this was one of those pieces of instruction you could take literally?! And in my defense all I can really say is that you don’t know what baggage you take with you until you’ve had a chance to unpack it. And you never know when the penny is going to drop, when you’re going to see something that completely changes the way you think, the way you relate to things. And that is another function if you like of Julia Cameron’s ‘filling the well’ activity. Because you’re not just creating work, you’re creating yourself – as an artist and as a human being. You are a work in progress and your life is a work in progress… and hopefully your artistic endeavours reflect that too.