Let’s have an honest talk about why we create. The real insides of what it takes to do what we do, why we do it, and why we keep doing it. Creating isn’t always easy. It can be motivating, inspiring, and downright amazing. But that doesn’t make it easy. Every artist will go through a period of questioning: Am I good enough? Do I deserve to do this? Will anyone care? And finally, the biggest question of all: WHY? That is the heart of it all.
When an artist skips the question of WHY, it becomes difficult to answer any of the other questions. For at the heart of our journey is why we are walking, and when one no longer knows why they are walking, they tend to stop. Such is the reality of creating art. We walk and walk and walk, fueled on by passion and in turn, inspire ourselves. But when we forget why we create in the first place, the rest falls apart, too.
I recently took a journey through my portfolio, from day one until now. I like to do this a few times a year to keep myself on track, show myself the progress I’ve made, and equally to show myself how far I still have to go (eternity). While I was going through my works I remembered, suddenly and happily, why I create. It isn’t to hear other people’s reactions. It isn’t to hear a shutter click or to have fun frolicking in the woods. Those also come after the real reason why I create.
I create to find beauty in darkness, to shed light on the life of death; to pursue my own vision of the world and project that, as strange as it may be. I am in love with creating because I am in love with my imagination. I care so little about cameras and lights and technology, but I care infinitely for my ability to astound myself.
We all have the opportunity to be amazed by what we do. It doesn’t have to be the finished product that we love, or even the process of doing it. For me, it is the simplicity of being able to create. It is knowing that I have the power to express myself, change myself, and grow. It is knowing I have the power to, possibly, do the same for someone else. I have a voice and a message and a way of relaying that message to the world.
My art is an extension of myself, a third hand that serves my thoughts and dreams to the world. It is dark and I happily use the word creepy, yet it can also be whimsical and sad and surreal. These words do not define the process, simply the end result. What we are is more than what everyone sees when the process is complete.
We are amazingly powerful.
Marisa White - I was just having a conversation the other day about this very topic. We create because it’s something innate within ourselves. Not to please others but to please us, the artist…no matter how creepy or silly it might be to the outside world! <3
brookeshaden - Exactly! I love that spark in you, always willing to put yourself out there and be who you are!
Katrin Auch - I envy your ability to self analyze, I have such a hard time nailing down in words the why. I know I love to tell stories, and often love to convey my take on well known stories— when it comes to fairytales. But it’s not whole of it. I look at my work and I see an evolution and growth, but I think why do I tell these stories the only answer I get is cause no one else can capture what I see in my head but me. I hope that my images touch other people, but it really doesn’t matter if they do—cause in the long run I am only making them for me.
brookeshaden - You make an interesting point Kat – I understand that way of thinking because it can often feel like we have an intangible “thing” that no one else has..and in fact, each of us does have it. But when you say “no one else can capture what you see in your head” – try to describe why. How are you doing something different. Does it manifest technically or conceptually. Is it a camera angle you favor, or is it something more abstract. What message do you want people to receive from viewing your work? I’m glad that I know your work personally, because I believe you do have a message. It is whimsical and flowing, feminine, and powerful.
Katrin Auch - I totally agree with you about everyone having a “thing” but I think everyone’s “thing” is unique as their fingerprint. I got into photography after being a graphic designer for over 10 years. I would create pieces that used other people’s photography to fulfill an image that I saw in my head. I would either spend hours looking for the right stock art or work with a photographer to get something custom. The number of times I ended up with exactly what I wanted was depressing low. So I decided to shoot for myself. I wasn’t very good at first, but it was very empowering to take that image I could see clearly in my head and translate it so others could see it. I am still working on getting those transfers to be perfect, but it’s all me. As for what I want viewers to see? I have a few answers that seem trite as I try to type them—I think it might be that you can’t move on until you accept where you are. And thank you, all four of those words are ones I strive for in my work.
moodphoto - That last paragraph … you put it so great, “my art is an extension of myself”
you just did again that amazing thing, you wrote something that I have been wondering yet again this week. Went through my pics…
I felt little bit down, because my go to camera is broken, so I did what we artists do… blamed myself, I am bad at everything because of that broken camera 😉 And every pic I have ever taken are bad, and those future shots will be bad too 😀 of course…because one unfortunate thing, like a broken camera made me question everything!
Hope you`ll have a great weekend and lots of new stories, pics and wise words coming to us <3
brookeshaden - Sometimes it is easier to blame ourselves than to question the true problem. I do that from time to time. My camera has also been broken for the last month and I had that thought too – maybe I should just go on a shooting hiatus. But I’m glad I didn’t – more inspired than ever! I wish you the same, you are an amazing person and photographer <3
moodphoto - thank you dear Brooke, I hope I will get inspiration back again too <3
Minnie - I love this photo Brooke. And I’m so happy that you have this blog and that it’s called Promoting Passion, because that’s exactly what you do with every single word you write. Your posts keep me believing more and more in what I do and why I do it. Thank you.
gabriel - an interesting photo..
Avo - If we can answer the question of why we’re here in this world, it will set the foundation of everything we do, every decision, every work we carry out. It’s like the ripple caused by a rock dropped in a lake. Answering the “why” starts a ripple effect in our whole life that goes on forever so long as we never forget or change course.
I imagine your answer, as is mine, is to create. We are here to create. Create connections, create value, create emotions and create meaning. Our art let’s us do that. Our work, our passion allows us to live out that purpose for being here.
We’re on the same page, Miss Brooke. Great read.
Avo - http://Www.avotography.com
Margherita Introna - Oh I am so glad this topic came up… I had just this discussion with two fellow artists Claire Gunn Photography and Natascha van Niekerk Photography at supper the other night and so I am glad to capture my thoughts to this exact question here in writing… My “why” is to express my emotions, whether happy or sad. Through being able to share my emotions in an image I am able to express myself in ways that words fail me and just do not suffice. Most of my portfolio is self-portraiture as in most instances my work is autobiographical in nature. These are my stories and my emotions. Often they are the stories and emotions I cannot reveal to the world in full detail or in words – only images, and leave the rest to the viewer to decipher. As a result, my greatest form of inspiration is to draw from my emotions. I find this rarely leaves me without inspiration. For this I am grateful. Being able to create quietens my soul <3
This image is weirdly wonderful Brooke… A strong concept with an incredibly powerful result. One of those seriously thinking images and will stay with me for a long time. An interesting use of tones too, which I found fascinating.
Paulo Alexandre Carvalho - This is one of the reasons why I’ve always struggled. Could not show people what I love to do, which is create. I enjoy creating in the kitchen cooking, in photographing, writing … but always had that thought in wanting to please others. Today, it is no longer so. I create because I like and makes me happy and I show, without fear and with satisfaction. The best critic of our work is one that is closest to us and who knows us very well. Ourselves. If you recall, and as I promised you, you can see the image in which I was working and it has to do with lust. As for the image. Love it. Just as I love these words: “My art is an extension of myself, a third hand that serves my thoughts and dreams to the world.” <3
Don't Shoot Blanks Weekly Web Finds #15 & Scenes From The Week | Don't Shoot Blanks - […] The Third Hand […]