Stop Looking. Start Making.

In Life Is Short, Pep Talks, Rants and Sermons, The Life Creative, Vision Is Better by David9 Comments

I recorded an episode of Vision Is Better last week (Episode 61) and just posted it. I want you to watch it. Please. Some of you need to see this – to hear this – and since I’m not sure which of you that is I’m just going to go ahead and recommend you all take 7 minutes or so to watch it. Then come back here. Click here to open YouTube and watch Vision Is Better Episode 61 in a new tab.

I want to encourage you to keep at it. To turn your attention from that miraculous camera in your hand from which we expect so much and to direct it where it belongs: to you. To your desires and longings, thoughts, opinions. Some of us – me included – have made so big a thing out of vision that it intimidates us into paralysis. It’s become some holy grail in our lives and we’re hoping when we find it all will be well. We’ll finally do the art we were made to make, the stuff we’re longing to make. We’ll finally have the clarity we need to take the first steps. We’ll finally stop being so afraid. We’ll finally be the artists, the photographers, the writers we know we can be.


Vision IS your longing. Vision is YOU. Stop looking so damn hard for it. Instead: start making. Making photographs, making stories, making, making, making.

Because we don’t find our vision so we can make art. We make art so we can find our vision.


We don’t make art half as much to express ourselves as to explore ourselves and the world around us. And then we make more art. And we go deeper.

You know who makes art? Makers. Doers. The paint-stained and the dust-covered. The ones who pick up their cameras and walk out the door without a hint of inspiration or the foggiest notion if anyone is even watching, or cares – but they go to find out, to see if it’s there. Because they care. You know who doesn’t make art? The dreamers, the blamers, the excuse-makers, and the I-could-have-done-that’ers: anyone who doesn’t do the work for whatever reason: fear, laziness, even something as noble-sounding as the pursuit of vision. And that’s OK. The world will survive if you don’t make your art. But you won’t.

The less you make, and do, and try, and fail, and the longer you wait to do those things, the more your vision will sink down into the sediment of all the trivial shavings of life, the detritus, the frivolous. Only doing brings it back to the surface.


There is no certainty in art-making. I’m not sure there’s much certainty in life, period. We’re guided only by our imaginations, not an set of assembly instructions from IKEA ( for which I’m thankful: my imagination is way easier to follow) Art isn’t about knowing. Or certainty. It’s about making decisions. Risking. Peering into the unknown. It’s about the great What If with which we daily wrestle. But it’s wrestling to which we were born and in which we thrive. It’s the weaving of a better story. It’s the discovery of a deeper part of ourselves than we ever imagined we could contain. It’s there. Call it vision, soul, intent, whatever, it is there. And we find only by starting the work. Just doing the thing that pleases you for no other reason than that it pleases you. But doing it.

Don’t worry about your vision. It’s there. Just go make. Listen to the little voice, the what if. Play. Stop taking it so damn seriously that choosing one direction over another keeps you tied to the crossroads, unmoving. There are fewer wrong turns than we think.

If you haven’t yet got your hands on The Soul of the Camera, I encourage you to do so. The soul of the camera is you. It’s you who will make better photographs, images with spark, soul, or life. Images that are more than just eye candy, more than just a really big, really sharp collection of pixels. Better photographs are made by better photographers and I wrote The Soul of the Camera to help us all blow the dust off that photographer and let him, let her, get back to making. To doing. To being un-stuck. Click here for more. 


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  1. “A photograph that mirrors reality cannot compare to one that reflects the spirit.”


  2. Awesome words of advice! I have 2 personal projects I am working on now too. Thanks for being so inspirational! Got my book now too so hoping this weekend allows me some quite time with your book!!!

  3. Still waiting for my new compact camera Sony r11 to ship.
    When I have it I will start a new longterm streetphotography project.
    Probably. If it is not too hot outside.

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