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Being new versus being authentic

The other day, a little bird recommended an interesting article to me. It’s a take on creativity written by Scott Bourne over at the Photofocus blog.

In it, Scott mentions how low self esteem stunts creativity, and how freeing it is to let yourself fail. While I’m familiar with those ideas (although I seem to need constant reminders) what was new to me, were his ideas on being authentic:

“I learned this concept best by listening to John Paul Caponigro. He was talking about other art forms and mentioned that in Asia for instance, artists don’t worry about coming up with something new, they work within an existing form and try to expand it.”

I especially like what Scott wrote at the end of his article:

“Don’t focus on NEW – focus on authentic. Being original isn’t being new – it’s being you.”

Where will being authentic take you? Will you write a book? Paint a painting? Who knows? Maybe you’ll start taking your photography more seriously.

What do you think about these ideas? What holds you back – or spurs you on – creatively? Who inspires you? What inspires you? Inquiring minds (that is to say, me and the inquisitive grackle in the photo above) want to know.

Tui Snider
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  1. So true. I saw a saying one time. It read:
    If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you always got, and you’ll always feel what you always felt.
    In order to create we need to step outside our comfort level and take a different direction with the ordinary things in our lives. Sometimes it is the simplest thing that gets us moving in creative directions.
    An example for you.
    I used to love photography and taught myself to use an SLR that had only manual settings. I always wanted to take a course but over the years while raising kids I resorted to just snapshots. I did try to make most of them somewhat nice photos but eventually the creative slant went away and I took less and less pictures. Then one day online I saw a community in Live Journal. It was actually started by a 16 year old girl. It was called 100 Snapshots. It was a list of words and you were supposed to take a picture for each word. It not only got me taking photos again, but it changed how I looked at things. It was a great exercise (one that I still need to finish…I think I have 13 left) and totally spurred me to recreating the photographer in me.

    • mentalmosaic mentalmosaic

      I like the saying you mention in your comment. Kinda reminds me of Einstein’s definition of insanity. I’m paraphrasing, but it’s something like: ‘If you keep doing the same thing while expecting different results.’

      100 Snapshots sounds fun. One of my goals is to learn more about the mechanics of photography, since taking photos brings me so much delight. It has a way of snapping me right into the moment. I feel more alert to the world when I have a camera in hand.

      So how are you feeling now about your photography?

      Thanks for commenting! ~Tui

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