Do we end up doing the kind of creative work we do by coincident or is there a bigger reason for why we end up doing paintings, songs, novels, graphics, poems or whatever we like to do? Like I am a photographer (but do other stuff as well, it has to be said). Was it purely coincidence that I ended up choosing this path?
At some point in my early life, I was surely inspired by close friends who picked up the camera and eventually got me interested in photography as well. None of them ever became professional photographers, but we had great fun in the exchange of our increasing passion. Later on during my academic studies the friend I was doing a master thesis together with, decided to pursue a photographic career instead. We were both avid photographers then, not professionals however, and were often out shooting together. Not long after he got a foot into a photo studio, I began pursuing a photographic career myself, but rather in a documentary direction.
Would I not have become a photographer without the push from my friends? Maybe so, but then maybe I would have discover my passion for photography anyway. I don’t know, but what I do know is that photography feels right for me. Generally, I feel alive when I can be creative, so maybe any other artistic work would have been just as fulfilling for me. Of course, there is such thing as talent, so maybe I wouldn’t have become good at sculpturing, for instance, or performances. However, I have never put much trust in talent, as I think it’s more inhibition than lack of talent that makes us turn away from certain endeavours.
What I know is I am a visual guy. I experience the world in a visual kind of way. I love reading, nevertheless, but when I read a novel, it’s like a movie running before my inner eye. It’s the same the other way around, when I am writing. Now I’d rather use an internal movie that I transcribe into words. Unnecessary to say then, that I love watching movies, and have probably watched more movies than most.
There are so many examples that show the way I visually orientate myself in the world. Like when using Google Maps to find direction from one place to another, I know many people who would rather print out a written description of the way. I, on the other hand, will always print out a map with the route. That is so much easier for me, and I never get lost.
Generally, I don’t get lost no matter where I go. It’s like my brain draws an internal map wherever I go, as I go. I never feel disorientated—well, almost never at least—even in places, I have never been before. After breaking up from my academic studies I went travelling for half a year, sort of my first attempt at making a living as a photographer. At some point two friends of mine, I was travelling together with for a while, and I flew into Hong Kong. It was night; it was dark and all quiet overwhelming with its busy streets and chaotic city layout. From the airport, we took a buss into downtown Kowloon on the mainland. Even if this was my first visit to Hong Kong, I could tell when we needed to get off the bus, knowing we were close by the hotel we had chosen to stay at. All from looking at a map in the airport.
The same many years later. I had just met my love one and was visiting her hometown, Seattle, for the first time. Back then she was teaching at a massage school situated in downtown Seattle. One of the first days, she took me up in Space Needle. While walking around the platform high above the city, she started to look for the school, wanting to point it out to me. We had visited the school the day before, and I could immediately pick it out from the top of the Space Needle. It took a minute or so before she could ratify I was right.
So, yes, I am very much a visual guy. What is my point? It may be coincidence however we end up doing the kind of creative work we do, but I still think we need to listen to our inner voice and bring it out in whatever way feels right for us. It’s not about talent, but finding the creative expression that spurs our passion.
What spurs your creative passion?