Why am I going on about this Life Creative stuff? Most likely, it’s because in my heart I’m a preacher and I’ve always done very poorly at keeping my mouth shut. But it’s more than that. I have loved photographs since I was a kid and that love’s grown to become a love for those who create them. There’s a great scene in the movie Wonder Boys, where Michael Douglas’ character, an author, says the woman he loves is addicted to words and, luckily for him, he manufactures her drug of choice. I feel the same way. I’ve a vested interest in this art, and the ones who create it, because you all create one of my several (metaphorical) drugs of choice. How can I not hope that this drug is the most interesting, engaging, intoxicating, addictive substance you can create?
My latest book, The Print and the Process, is about this very thing on a personal level, and I think it’ll prove to be a transitional book for me. It’s premised on the notion that why we do what we do, and how we do it, are important, because without the how and the why, we don’t have art. But it’s bigger than that. When, a couple years ago I wrote my Life is Short blog post, then set off to sell my possessions and travel the continent in my Land Rover, I caught a glimpse of a new sermon. I’ve talked a lot about vision and expression. Now I want to discuss creation itself. Intentional, unapologetically passionate creation. And if people don’t want to hear the word “passionate” one more time I suggest they go find some before they piss their lives away doing the unimportant, uninspired, or – worse – uninspiring.
It’s been an odd thing to leave a career in comedy for photography, only then to find I enjoy writing words as much as making photographs. I think my photography has benefitted a great deal from the last few years discovering my legs as a writer. What I’ve learned is that my desire to write, or to make photographs, is evidence of a larger desire: simply the longing to create. I love the act of creation. And it’s in that direction I want to move as I start outlining my next written book, something for others who love the creative life and want to live it – regardless of the kinds of things we create – intentionally and, yes, passionately. Right now I’m not sure where it’s going or what it’s going to look like; I rarely do when I begin a project, but the act of beginning is the hardest part. I’m nervous, scared of the effort ahead. Scared, as I’ve been with every book I’ve written, that it’ll fail. But the more I put my ear to the wind and strain to hear my muse, the more excited I become about this because I’ve seen what happens when people begin to openly discuss their creative process and the very real forces, like fear, that stand in our way.
Happy New Year. May 2013 be a year of wonder, creation, and the freedom to follow your muse to new places.