It’s the struggle of every artist. Our job is to create something unique enough to pull people from their everyday life. To have a voice that causes people to stop and listen. To make something extraordinary…to be extraordinary. How do we balance on this tightrope between reality and fantasy? What happens if we look around and discover the magic is gone?
Inspiration is crucial to the art of photography. One could argue the importance of inspiration on behalf of the photographer, and while this is important, it’s just as crucial that the model maintains this state of mind. We have the job of giving the photographer something amazing to capture. We have the task of being something intriguing, mystifying, powerful, captivating… Something greater than ourselves for the time we spend in front of that camera. How do we regularly do this? It’s a draining place to be. You have to give everything you are, and then some.
For the photographer, you must continually see things in a way the world doesn’t. You have the challenge of capturing lines, patterns, and expressions in a way people haven’t seen before. Every picture has to be unique, yet speak of you as an artist. Again, how do we regularly do this?
- Never let it be about the money.
This is a surefire way to lose your passion in an instant. The way to make money is to be widely accepted. The quest for generalized acceptance often leads to dilution. A process of endlessly plucking away the quirks and nuances only you can offer a piece, yet fear the world won’t be able to identify with. You become less passionate about what you have to say and more consumed with what people want to hear. Your passion can so easily become an endless chase of doing what appeals to others. This is all wrong.
The beauty of art is its never-ending subjectivity. Yes, it’s good to want your art to be accepted, but never lose your drive to unharness yourself through it. Find the balance of what your audience will like and what you want to portray. Photography, modeling, makeup artistry, designing… Do what you do to set yourself free.
Take the time to do things that fill you with a zest for life. Go for quiet walks in the woods, listen to music by your favorite artist, push yourself to the limit during a workout, or write in a journal by the window as the sun rises. Do the things that keep your individualistic spark alive. The things that keep you who you are. The things that remind you what it is you want to say in your art.
Peel back the layers of everything happening around you. Seek to find the wonder in everything, the amazement everyone else passes by when they take things at face value. Take a moment to truly feel everything that you experience. Why is this important? The artist must capture and reveal these secrets, feelings, and sensations to the world. The first step to accurately capturing or portraying anything is to understand it at its core. This takes purpose and time.
Choose passion, and run from indifference.
No matter how you are involved in photography – in front of or behind the camera – seek to be part of projects you feel strongly about. Choose to be part of things that reflect who you are, speak of something you find fascinating, or portray something you truly want to show your audience. If you’ve been given a job and you’re left feeling indifferent, stop. Stop and look your project over… Find something, anything, that you can become passionate about. Passion is sometimes a choice, but a choice that needs to be made if we are to remain inspired. To make an audience feel connected with our work, we must first be connected with it ourselves.
Walk into every shoot with the mindset of giving your work a heartbeat. Have a goal to give your final photo an undeniable energy. The dream of every artist is to elicit a reaction in their audience, to deflect a feeling, mood, or emotion. Here is where art and science collide… Energy can’t be created from nothing. Energy must be shared, distributed, harvested… If a photo is created out of indifference, it may be cursed to elicit nothing more…indifference. Strive to fill every frame and canvas with an emotion, with a message, with something so human that your audience sees and feels it. It’s a chain reaction, and it all begins with how invested we are in the beginning.
- Focus on the Journey, Not the Destination
Some of the most wonderful things are the result of happenstance and organic creative energy. Staying fixated on a final destination may be helpful, but can also rob us of embracing a creative detour. If our art is something we wish to practice throughout our lives, it greatly helps when it can evolve with us. When we give it the fluidity to rise and fall we escape the rigidity of the straight, structured line to success. Focusing on the journey gives every day the power to be a success. It gives every moment the power to be its own victory while taking us one step closer to where we desire to be. Appreciate every artistic phase you experience. Let your work adapt and grow as you do. There is so much hope and excitement found in not yet being where you plan to be. Let every frame be decidedly part of this journey, and intentionally not the end.
All images in this article have been from past collaborative efforts between myself and photographer Josie Brooks. She is an incredible human being and I can’t wait to continue this creative journey with her. Find more of her work at www.josiebrooksphotography.com and on Instagram @josiebrooksphotography.
Until next time,
Professional Page: https://www.facebook.com/Ashley.BeLoat.images/