Why do we do what we do, in the way that we do it?
I call myself a creative, but aren’t I just doing to same kind of stuff as everyone else? We seek and find inspiration in other people, other creatives, other artists, but then we end up following the same kind of path, making the same sort of things. Maybe it’s inevitable, or maybe we're not being as creative as we could be.
I’ve thinking about this blog. My background is in business, working in large corporations where my writing would all be relatively formal, structured, instructional, functional. I think I can still be stuck in that sometimes in writing here too. Too formal and impersonal when there’s plenty of ‘how to’ stuff out there already. The technical stuff anyway. Gear, settings, technique, business.
I’d like to try to break out of that, at least sometimes. I’ve just finished reading American Gods by Neil Gaiman. It feels brave, inventive, not scared to break a few norms. It’s rambling (as was Gaiman's stated intention) and lost and occasionally confused but somehow feels like a labor of love. Like the characters matter, the words matter to the author, that Gaiman cares and enjoys the journey he’s leading us through, almost regardless of whether we’ll enjoy it. It feels human, imperfect. It's not the best book I've ever read but that didn't seem to matter. I have to think that there was a lot of 'what if...' and 'why not' going on during it's creation.
So I want to get more messy, real, honest about my journey as a photographer. Maybe a frustration or rant sometimes. Maybe. It’s easy to complain and rarely be positive, but issues need to be discussed too in these messed up cultures we’re trying to make sense of.
Most of us don’t really know what we’re doing do we? Really. We’re making it up as we go, doing the things that should be done, the things that people like us do. We have the things that people like us have, walk and talk the way we should. The masks of acceptability and competence. I love that occasionally my daughter will start walking a different way, sinking down low or kicking her feet out in front of her. As if she's trying it out, seeing how it feels, like she's getting bored of walking the same way all the time.
Sometimes somebody has the courage do something that isn’t the way things are meant to be done. Starts a business that shouldn’t work, makes a movie that doesn’t fit a genre, writes a book that offends and makes a noise. Or maybe it doesn’t make a noise because it’s not ‘bestseller’ material, so it goes unnoticed by most. But to a few, it matters. It makes a difference.
So I’d like to write words that might matter. Might somewhere, somehow make a difference. I can’t tell you how to do things, not really. I can tell you how I take photos, but that might not be the way that you need or want to take photos. Or even the way I’m going to be taking photos next week, or next year. But maybe we need to ask the same questions sometimes. Those 'why' questions that kids seem to ask a lot but we don’t, because we think we know. Because that’s the way things are. That’s what the rules say, that’s what the blogs and news and forums tell us.
We should keep asking I think, why do these words matter, why does this image matter? Does it matter? Could it make a difference? Even a small difference. That’s all it needs to be worth the effort.