Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Which Voice Do I Listen To?

When our art expresses our vision, we give voice to the way we see the world.  But giving voice through an expressive medium is quite different from listening to the voices that say something about our work.

What are those voices that call to us and say something about our art?  Which ones should we be turning our ears to? Which voices might be more harmful than helpful as we strive to grow as artists?

I'm so glad David duChemin is on the road to recovery from his accident last month, because he's again posting some of the most insightful and provocative material I read about photography and the artistic endeavor.

Readers should refer to David's blog posting of May 23 for the full article. Here's a quick synopsis:
  • There art three voices that talk to us as artists ... fans, critics, and internal gut.
  • Fans cheer us on, even when we're going in the wrong direction.
  • Critics can push us past our comfort zone into new places of creativity.  Some can also kill our soul.
  • The internal voice of our gut is instinctive.  We need to trust our instincts.  But "some people just have lousy instincts."
David concludes his post with this final paragraph:

Listen to the voices, at least the legitimate ones. Hear them out. Weigh them against your instinct and the reality that we all have blind spots, we all need a push in one area of our craft or another. Arrogance and a teachable spirit are mutually exclusive, but then listening to every voice but your own is the fastest way I can imagine to creating work that is uninspired, homogeneous, and lacks the most important element of art – yourself.

Include the voice of David duChemin among those that are worth listening to.

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