I photographed the graduation ceremony at the School Of The Museum Of Fine Arts in Boston. I’m commissioned for events, family portraits, corporate head shots and editorial assignments. It’s a wonder that I have anytime left over to make platinum prints and be a sensitive and complex artist.
I love the variety because of all the creative muscles that get worked in any given week. The SMFA is special though. Watching such talented and creative minds celebrate a real accomplishment with their friends and family is a privilege.
However, I think the reason I needed to be there was William Flynn. He was the faculty speaker and his talk was full of some very practical advice. The most important being to “Just Start.”
Procrastination takes many forms in my life. In my career, it looks like wanting to get everything just right before I begin a project. My father calls it “spending too much time getting ready to get ready.”
“Just Start” reminds me I’m only human. Anything worth doing is worth doing poorly and by taking a first step, I stand in new possibilities.
The act of starting sets in motion invisible connections. A novel starts with a first word (I’m not a novelist) a photo assignment the first exposure. Unrealistic expectations on the first creative movements is a recipe for getting nothing done. Anything creative has an element of learning in the process. That means I’m not supposed to have it all figured out. In fact, true creative success is the production of better questions instead of finding answers.
When I’m out on assignment, I start by taking a quick snapshot without thinking. It is a start, not a conclusion. It’s like making a beachhead, planting a flag. I no longer have to wonder what the first picture is going to look like because, I just started. I’m no longer a prisoner to perfection but a collaborator, however falteringly, in the sublime.