Calling all Creatives...
Whilst editing and processing this past week, I regressed into my usual manic productivity; the rest of the world edged away from me and out of focus, and my mental experience fizzed and buzzed like white noise; I became unable and unwilling to really feel or experience anything much outside of my cerebral speed. Other creatives will understand this space- it is both the most productive and most destructive space we create and inhabit.
In an attempt to step out of this, I put the southern drawling tones of Brene Brown on in the background. Whilst I worked at my computer, physically sat like a closed up ball in my chair, she recited a Roosevelt quote that stopped me in my tracks:
"...It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming... who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly..."
Unfolding from my chair, I took a deep breath. I had spent the last 5 days working away on this wedding, continually doubting my work; perpetually refuting my own ability; metaphorically sat under the reading light of an imagined critic. Who was this critic? Who was leaning over my shoulder this whole time, watching my every decision and every thought. Was it the bride and groom? No, I felt that I had captured them and their chemistry.. They were beautiful. Was it the greater audience of my Blog, or perhaps Facebook even? Maybe the wedding industry? In part, the latter was true, but most uncomfortably,
I realised that critic was myself. Whilst supposedly being present in the moment, and working away, I was equally absent- lost in a self reflexive hall of mocking mirrors.
So here lies the dichotomy- How can I be both the one who is out there in the arena; dust, sweat and blood coagulating over my weathered features, from a lifetime of single mindedly and continually staying true to my instinctive need to grow and create.. but also be the critic, sitting in the cheap seats at the back, pointing the judgemental finger and laughing mockingly at my own attempts and achievements? What is the point in being both the brave one, and the critical one?
With all this in mind, I plan to shoot a series of photographs under the title "Daring Greatly". I would love to hear from anyone who connects with any of this, with any personal stories or insights into your experiences of being both 'the creative and the critic', and also, how successfully (or not) you 'dare greatly'. I want to turn all of this into something exploratory and collaborative, with my camera. Who knows where it could go, but get in touch..
After of a week of solitary and manic work, this is me attempting to start a conversation.. Join me..