I read Amy Poehler’s “Yes Please” last week (along with the rest of America) and it was so good. I laughed out loud more times than I can remember, but one thing that really stuck with me was this quote (and it wasn’t even funny at all):
Up until about a year ago I didn’t spend any time with other creatives in my field. As photographers I think we have this ongoing struggle of being true to your voice while still pertaining to the culture that we live in. Both are so important. If we’re going to be creatives, let’s be creative and not copycats. If we’re going to make a living, we still have to be kind of trendy (“relevant”) or people won’t hire us. Right? My recipe for staying true to my voice was to do it all alone. I was shy to approach photographer friends (what if they thought I was after their BUSINESS SECRETS?). So I tried to figure it all out myself. I’ve since learned how crazy that is and that community and collaboration are actually absolutely necessary for growth. Other people’s ideas are often and usually better than my own (that is hard to say out loud) and in the end, collaborating should help fine-tune your voice, not water it down. Another perspective will do wonders.
So, take Amy’s advice that I now claim as my own: find a friend or two that will inspire and challenge you, then challenge and inspire them. Give each other honest feedback on your latest work. Bounce ideas off of each other. You’ll be amazed by what a village can do.