Don’t Give a Damn!

A week ago, I photographed and did an interesting and inspiring interview with an artist, actor and acrobat. She said something that made me think. In many ways, simple and yet so relevant for anyone engaged in creative work.

Some years ago while she was rehearsing for a movie shooting, the director of the movie told her: “You are too much of a good girl, doing what you are told. Loosen up and don’t give a damn!” She followed his advice and suddenly her creative career took a giant boost.

I think in my younger days I was too much of a good boy, too. I did what I was told. Creatively I certainly didn’t draw outside the lines. I follow the “rules” and did what I was supposed to do. Although nobody gave me the same advice as this artist I interviewed got, slowly by slowly as my creative self matured, I started to care less and less about doing the “right” thing. Instead, I have become more like a rooky, creatively speaking (not necessarily in my interaction with other people).

I think we all need to be less nice or good and rather let loose and don’t think so much about what is the right thing to do. When we start to don’t give a damn, we enter into a different mindset, our creative thinking changes, we see differently and begin to discover new ways of expressing ourselves. Our creative voice will take a boost when we loosen up, if nothing else, because we start to create and do things differently from everybody else. Giving ourselves permission to don’t give a damn will be the first step towards a distinctive way of seeing and expressing ourselves.

Thus being bad isn’t always bad. On the contrary, we need to be a little more bad—and please understand me right when I say so. There is a Swedish saying that goes like this: “Nice girls come to heaven, bad girls can come as far as they like”. Unnecessary to say, it goes for both girls and boys.

On a different note, some of you may have noticed I have been absent from the blog sphere the last week or so. It’s just been extremely busy times and I haven’t had a chance to engage in social medias. However, I hope to be back now that summer on this part of the hemisphere is approaching and life may start to become a little less busy.

88 thoughts on “Don’t Give a Damn!

  1. I so agree with you Otto. I’ve learned to loosen up over the last few years and in fact you could probably say I’m the black sheep of the family. My siblings don’t get me because I’m not conforming but I don’t care like I used to. I’m tired of doing what others expect me to do. You could say “I don’t give a damn”.

  2. Hmm, yes, I see where you are coming from, Otto, and agree from a creative point of view….but we certainly do need to ‘give a damn’ in our dealings with others…but you know that! Just saying…

  3. This image reminds me of the song of Tears for fears “Shout, shout let it all out.” I also think it’s healthy to do this occasionally. You become sick of strong emotions if you do not let them out.

  4. Great advice, Otto.
    I spent nearly my whole life trying to fit in. Now, I don’t give a %@#!
    I am finally being Me. It’s a great weight off one’s shoulders to stop carrying around someone else’s opinion and standards 🙂

  5. Interesting thought. Some do it naturally – others are natural contrarians – and others do need that alter ego mindset to see things a different way!

  6. Could not agree more, Otto. I have often been considered “eccentric” to my family… I don’t care. I am who and what I am…
    I like to think it’s part of my charm… 😉

  7. well…. bad advice for the Godly haha, but you know how i feel about being a ‘bad’ photographer lol we’re on the same page, Otto 🙂

  8. Timely words, Otto. The same day I read this post, I walked out to the historic cemetery nearby to work some more on my “cemetery art” series. I thought about what you had written and realized that I need to break out of the way I’d been approaching this series and try some more unusual approaches. And by the way, when someone tells me “You’re bad,” I consider it the highest compliment I can get!

  9. I really enjoyed this. Females will be judged more harshly for content than males. This applies to photography, writing, artwork, even verbal communication . It’s admirable not give a damn but there may be consequences .😊

  10. What a fascinating life you lead! I love the “don’t give a damn attitude” of your post, Otto. Sometimes we can be much too uptight as a society. Excellent message.

  11. Well said, Otto. I belong to a local Camera Club (as I a sure many photographers do). Camera Clubs have regular competitions – but to do well in a club competition you have to ‘play it safe’ and produce something that is ‘likeable’ by the judge. These competitions my help the novices but they do nothing to encourage invidividuality or maverick behaviour photographically. At some point we all have to decide whether we are taking images that we want others to ‘like’ or for our own personal pleasure and growth as individuals and if someone else likes what we do, then that is a bonus. It’s an uncomfortable decision to make initially, but it frees us up to be who we really are.

    1. You make a poignant point. I see the same with photo clubs. There is a positive encouragement. But it’s harder as soon as you start to venture off the beaten tracks.

  12. I’m glad you passed that advice the actress got on – you’re right, it’s just the kind of spark that one needs from time to time. Nice has it’s place, but not within real creativity. The photo is so perfect with the message!

  13. For sure, Otto, I know you care a lot. The things you do tell me so. Not giving a damn, not trying all the time to do the so called right thing is about something else. As I understand you, not giving a damn is about daring to experiment, daring to do the unexpected, daring to go your own way without asking permission. I hope to allow myself living that way too, and I know it will never prevent me from caring about others.

  14. Bonjour Otto and Everybody:)
    question: where is statue located? and is it your teddy bear below his foot? 😛
    once more, some of your own words grabbed my attention:”When you have the courage to be who and what you are, nothing can stop you…” Hmm… True! but what if “Gremlins” around… and out to get you? Ah, Ah! 😉
    last:) ‘having a barrel of laughs with: “A mother who was talking to her little girl the other evening was greatly surprised at the answer she received to one of her questions. “My child, where do good girls go when they die?” “To heaven, of course.” “My dear, where do bad girls go?” “To the depot to see the traveling men come in.” what do you think?:)
    Nice article Otto! Merci.

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