Photographers Searching For Creativity

A lovely, tree-lined path adjacent to the Melbourne Museum under late afternnon winter's light. Image made with the Sony a7R II camera and Sony/Zeiss 24-70mm f4 lens.

I work with artistic people and, as a teacher of photography, folks often express to me their inner doubts about their own creativity, value and self worth.

I’m of the belief that we all make our own reality.

We may not always be able to control what happens to us, but we are the only ones who can determine what reality we create from the circumstances we find ourselves in.

I believe a more positive, hopeful perspective will allow us to do the following:

  • Determine how we feel about the situation we’re currently in

  • Better control the outcome of that situation

  • Ensure there is less likelihood of moving ourselves towards such difficult situations in the future

A red barrier provides a splash of vibrant color in this otherwise black and white photo of Web Bridge in the Docklands precinct of Melbourne, Australia.

The Trouble With Traditional Education

  • How is it that they don’t teach this stuff in school?

  • Are we here simply for this realization to reach us on our death bed?

  • Is this what life is about?

More and more folks are realizing the need to pull back from the madness that surrounds us.

  • The emptiness of 10 minute news cycles

  • The pettiness and shallowness of many relationships

  • The need to win at all costs

No wonder we allow poverty, domestic violence and insanity to breed largely unchecked and unmanaged in our society.

We don’t even think to change our state (mind and body) to arrive at an almost instant and far more hopeful perspective.

What’s the point of being in the developed world when we can’t even look after our own wellbeing, let alone that of those around us?

An example of the spectacular stained glass windows in St. Mary's Catholic Church in Hamilton, Australia.

Yes, I’m Upset

I live in Melbourne, Australia and am appalled to see the growing number of beggars and homeless folk. We can all do more, but it particularly upsets me to see folks sleeping rough outside churches.

There was an historical figure who lived around 2,000 years ago. He represents different things to different people, but it’s commonly accepted that he lived at that time.

How do you think he would feel about a major religious institution locking it’s doors at night while the poor and destitute try to sleep on the doorstep?

After spending a couple hours cleaning up after torrential rain, I can tell you the weather is particular difficult in Melbourne today.

Surely it costs nothing to open the doors. If you’re worried about the furniture, then you’re worried about the wrong things. Have the church also lost their way and departed from their true purpose?

Sunrise on a stormy morning at Whisky Bay in Wilsons Promontory National Park, Australia.

Those words are harsh and, I now realize, somewhat naive.

There would be items of significant value (financial, historical and spiritual) in many churches and those items must certainly be protected.

Still, I can’t help but wonder about adjoining church halls and how they could be put to use to shelter the displaced in our community.

I recently became aware of a church that opened its doors to homeless people only to experience theft, vandalism and concerns for the safety of some of its elderly parishioners.

As I say I was naive.

However, I suspect the lesson to be learned is that, these days, generosity needs to be balanced with discipline and managed by professions.

That means significant support from charities, social workers and law enforcement. Needless to say there has to be zero tolerance when it comes to drugs, alcohol and violence.

If government, religious organizations and charities got together there would always be enough shelter, security, food and counseling for the less fortunate among us.

It can’t be that hard and yes it should be paid for my the rest of us.

It’s the lack of planning and the inability of our leaders to bring meaningful change to our world that disappoints me the most.

And we are responsible for the leaders we vote into office.

A beautiul image of tree branches on the surface of Barkers Creek Reservoir during the afterglow near Harcourt, Australia.

Change Starts With You, And With Me

What can you do? Speak your mind and take action. Baby steps lead onto more urgent and more deliberate action. And, as many have discovered, when you march you find your voice.

But marching isn’t for all of us.

As creative beings we are in a unique position to use our art as a vehicle for change.

Simply by helping to fill the internet with positive, life affirming words and images you'll be helping to bring about change in the minds of others.

Our thoughts determine our actions and change starts with one deed, one kind word or one photo.   

For those of us who doubt our own creativity the answer is simple. Stop thinking such negative thoughts and put that energy into something worthwhile that will benefit others.

Put simply, you create the world you live in through your thoughts and actions.

 
Hungry Penguin Chick, South Georgia Island

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You Can Create Without Having To Write In Stone

When it comes to digital it doesn’t cost anything to push your camera’s shutter release button. On the desktop the fact that you can undo, redo and delete means you’re not writing anything in stone. It’s virtual and it's a necessary part of the creation process.

You are not your worst thoughts, so why let them control you.

Free yourself from this debilitating notion and the power your conscious mind has over you. Say yes to creativity, and just get on with it.

A lovely, luminous portrait of a young man seemingly day dreaming.

Dreams Are Important, But Action Is Better

Remember that the inner artist needs space, quiet and room to breathe and to dream. Dreams lead to plans, but plans can become an albatross without decisive action.

It’s all about fostering a synergy between the right and left sides of your brain, and allowing your intuition to guide you along the path.

The left side of your brain is like your geeky friend. Value that friend and reward them for fixing your computer. It will make both of you feel better.

But don’t spend your life in that space, that’s just not who you are.

Failing to find your own true purpose in life is, to my mind, the ultimate failure. It is, after all, why you’re here.   

So, Where To Start

The best cure for doubt, fear and lethargy is action. And it all starts with getting up and getting out.

Want to travel the world? Start by taking a walk around the block.

You’ll be amazed at how action leads to a change of perspective and opens the door to a whole world of positive, life-changing experiences.

The world is a big place, but you don't have to travel more than a few steps out your door to begin to commune with the sublime.

  • Trust your intuition

  • Learn to go with the flow

  • Discover the child within

That’s where you’ll find your creativity, your inspiration and your passion for life. It’s where meaning and purpose live. And that’s where you need to live as well.

The world needs you almost as much as you need to find yourself. Take action and be who you were born to be.

Please feel free to share this post widely and wildly.

Glenn Guy, Travel Photography Guru