I promised I’d post something every day this year, but today I have to cry uncle: It’s been a very long, very stressful day, and I have nothing left.
So … my apologies to my longtime readers for the rerun. And to my new readers: Enjoy!
About a week ago, my boss casually strolled through the office and asked no one in particular, “Who wants to give the first presentation at our creative meeting?” I raised my hand without a moment’s hesitation. I already had my topic.
Today was the big day.
I opened by talking about a sentence I spotted a few months ago in a friend’s blog:
I was moved and humbled by those words. So humbled, in fact, that I began a creative shame spiral. “Not in a million years could I have written that,” I thought to myself. I started beating myself up for being a boring writer, for being uninspired and superficial and banal.
But I told my colleagues that I soon realized there was no sense in comparing myself to my friend. He has his voice. I have mine.
I briefly explored the concept of “voice.”
I suggested that, to produce truly inspired and original work, creative people have to be true to their unique voice. I tossed out Tim Burton, Keith Haring and William Wegman as examples. By being true to their voice, they’ve each created an extraordinary visual legacy.
Then, I went on to talk about my own photography. I showed a few of my favorite images:
I told my colleagues that choosing those images had actually been a wonderful exercise in self-discovery.
At first, I’d thought that the diversity of my subjects meant I didn’t really have a voice. But by examining my body of work, I realized that there’s a common unifying theme to my photos: My favorite photos have a sense of stillness and solitude. I’m obviously drawn to quiet moments of reflection and repose.
I challenged my colleagues to look at their own body of work and to find their common unifying thread. And I urged them to find the courage and discipline to be true to their voice.
I don’t know whether my presentation resonated with my peers, but at least I got some valuable insights out of the exercise. I hope you do, too …