My creative lesson 34 — Finding my own voice
August 23, 2020
Every week I take a photo because I want, ..no, because I need to be a creative person. It is sometimes easy but usually it is quite difficult.
One of the reasons why it is difficult is because I do not not feel that I am a “great” photographer yet. But it is a little bit deeper than that. I do not just want to be a great photographer, I want to be a great photographer in my own weird way.
Of course one has to get inspiration and ideas from the photographers that you admire. And also learn from them as much as you can.
Somewhere along the path though, you are going to have to split away from other’s creative paths and start hacking your own way through the jungle.
This is something that I often think about because how can you follow your own path if you do not yet know WHAT your path is? One should rather say that one should aim to discover your creative path. Or start creating your own style or looking for your “creative voice”.
After seven years now of taking part in the 52Frames weekly photo challenge, with too many bad photos and only a handful of ones that I am really proud of, I think I know how one starts to realize who you are as a creative person.
Not only do you have to take a huge amount of photos to experiment with different genres, etc. You basically have to try everything out several times to see what makes you curious. Or what you instantly love or what you are willing to send more time and work on.
But you also have to think about your message too. What do you want the viewer to see in your photos? Or read in your short stories. Or to taste in your food?
So what do I want my photos to say? I think I want my photos to be subtly provocative with a hidden message, or a question, to the person looking at it.
Not necessarily with controversial content but with a play of light and textures and composition. I want my photo to resonate with the viewer in the same way that the rhythm of a story pulls you into another world.
This is an ambitious task for a mere mid-level photographer, right? Chances are great that I will never really accomplish this.
But one needs something to aim for, right? Something to constantly have in the back of your mind when you are making something.
I keep telling myself that I am having all these lofty goals and ideas while maybe I should just concentrate on taking a half decent photo. This is probably true but also not.
If you want your work to have a meaning, when you want people to see what you want to show them, you have to know what it is that you want to show them.
You cannot just click the button to capture an image or just throw something in the pan to quiet hunger pains. Why commit all this time and energy on something that you just did because you have to. Yes, it is good to experiment and build up a large body of work but this work should definitely have thought and depth to it too.
I think a true artist spends her life looking for her voice. It may also change along the way just look at all the zig-zags Picasso, Madonna and Bob Dillan took with their creative work.
It is okay if the message changes but you should always make sure that there IS a message. In my writing I often discover the message for myself in the process of writing.
So maybe it is a two-way street. The more things you make, the more you discover what it is that you want to say.
The more questions that you want to explore and try to answer, the more you create.
Just looked at how Picasso played with the color blue.
You do this until you have finally answered all the questions about that one thing. Many artists never do exhaust this one avenue and that is okay.
But when you do, and ONLY then, it is time to go and start asking new questions.
I belong to this photo group called 52Frames where we have to take a photo and upload it every week. (It is 100% free to join but take note that the deadlines are strict.) Plodding along every week getting my weekly photo has taught me a lot about creativity.
My other creative endeavors are writing words, writing code and messing around with drawings and fiber art.
Here are a few of my other lessons about creativity: