The other day, I was talking with an incredibly talented friend of mine. We got on the subject of writing, and how difficult it can be to transcribe everything that goes into our work, everything we find inspiring about the people we photograph, and what drives us, in a way that’s both poignant and honest. We talked about how easy it is to say that we’ll share the incredibleness of something, and then to just write a completely nondescript and unidentifiable post. My friend mentioned that he was envious of another photographer we both admire, because this other photographer always writes in such an achingly beautiful way, while he ends up inserting humor into a lot of what he writes.
The thing is, that’s who he is. He’s funny, and that doesn’t make it less poignant when he tells an incredibly touching story.
We don’t trust our own voices, even when we know we’re supposed to. We water ourselves down, because we think that’s what we’re supposed to do.
But stripping away our personalities doesn’t make us more like those we admire. It just makes us less like ourselves.
I spend a lot of time with self-doubt. I’m quick to write and photograph for others, to show off what I think I’m supposed to. What will get the most likes, or shares, or comments. Sometimes, when I find something incredibly beautiful and moving, it feels too different. I keep it all to myself because I’m afraid no one else will see the beauty. I hit publish on things that make me don’t move me, and worry about what makes me feel.
Hiding what’s different isn’t making me more like the people I admire. It’s just making me less like myself.
Inspiration can come from the world around us, from the people who impact our lives and the things that move us. It can come from sources big and small.
But creation, creation comes from inside of us. Creation is unchartered waters, and it’s all that we can genuinely offer of ourselves.