Insights come in strange ways, but usually suddenly then you’re looking for it in another direction.
The last few months I didn’t do much with social media. I posted only when I liked doing so, and that was not often. What I did do was asking myself questions about photography, my photography actually.In that same period of time I started to watch several youtube videos of Simon Sinek. In my opinion his Ted talk ‘Why, What, How’, his other talks about leadership and al of his books are sublime. A few days ago I saw a talk of him on YouTube at the Jen Waldman Studio in New York (see the link at the end of this blog). In this talk he explained to arts students how he defines art.
Briefly, in his opinion there are three tests that something has to pass to be called Art: 1) intention, 2) display, 3) reception. With IntensionSinek means the intension of the creator or the person who puts it together as art: is the intension to create Art or not? For example: you take a piece of driftwood out of its natural environment because you see it’s beauty and you want to display it as Art (Intension). The next is Display: show your driftwood in a museum (for example). And then comes three: reception. People see your piece of Art there and say: ‘Wauw, isn’t that amazing!’ So it has to be possible that your piece is received as Art (so it needs to be in the right place for it’s display). In other words: you can paint or photograph landscapes, but if you do not display your work and it isn’t received, it’s not Art!
Sinek even goes beyond this and states: ‘Art is like a gift. If you have capacity, talent, hard work and want to produce, a gift is to be given. So what’s the point of giving a gift if no one gets it. So reception is important to give the Art point. As opposite to pointless. Otherwise you are just decorating your home’.
The past weeks I thought this over in relation to my photography. The ‘Why’ of my photography had puzzled me since I had seen Sineks Ted Talk (see the link at the end of this blog). In the meantime I was making photographs, loving being outside. Some images I had taken home were better to me than others, but it almost always being out in the field gave me a good feeling and I came home refreshed. Than why bother about my photography. As long as I liked being outside, should it be of any importance why I made photographs…?
But apparently it did. At least to me…There were still these questions remaining,. They came back to me every once in a while: ‘Why do you make photographs and why do you keep your website? WHY?
I had had a major insight about myself considering social media a few months ago. This had hugely changed the way of posting photos and how I dealt with my social media accounts. But why making photographs and why still my website? Why did I want tot keep my domain filled with photo’s? Recently I even secured it to with a SSL certificate to a https:// domain, to be ready for al the changes in European law and the way Google Chrome and Firefox would otherwise present my site as unsafe. Why would I even bother if my site wasn’t that important to me? So apparently it is important to me! But why?
A week ago I had discovered my Why with the help of a friend (see for my why: https://www.ontopphoto.com/about-peter-2/). After thinking over Sineks talk about Art yesterday morning I suddenly also understood the why of my website.It was so obvious it didn’t cross my mind before: I have a ‘message’ I want to share with the world. I message for everyone who wants to see it. I have a meaning with my photographs and want people to be able to see them. And it contributes to my personal Why.And to contribute to my why I love to create ‘an artist impression’ of what I see and feel. Although you can say my work is rather close to reality, it is still the way I see and feel the world. So Sinek gave me the key to the why of my website: I have to display my images to carry out ‘my massage’. And in the meanwhile it is also a bit funny, although not that important to me and surely not my goal, to be able to see myself a bit as an artist rather than ‘just a photographer’. J
But besides al this, getting up early and staying out late, just to create, relax and having a great time to me is of immense importance.
The talks of Simon Sinek mentioned in this blog.
Simon Sinek at Jen Waldman Studio (Simon Sinek visits Jen Waldman Studio for a conversation about what it means to live an artistic life and start with Why. Recorded at JWS on March 2, 2018): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aEf7BLUyd0o
Simon Sinek – The Golden Circle – TedTalks 2009: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fMOlfsR7SMQ