If you are where everyone is, saying what everyone is saying – then how can you be heard?
It’s like trying to have a conversation in a mosh-pit or trying to write a novel underwater. You need space to speak your words in your own rhythm, making and showcasing the images only you can create.
Facebook, Twitter, branding, endless apps, and social media… We all live amidst the noise, among the crowd – but you have a voice, and it is needed.
Are you unsure what those images and words are that only you can create? Is your voice buried under so many expectations, pressures, slogans, and so much branding that it’s become only a faint whisper? Then this is a call to strip away those pressures so we can hear your voice loud and clear.
Creation awakens what already is, taking ideas, memory, and matter that exist and breathing new life into them. The earth is full of heartbreaking wonder and artists give the world strength to embrace it. We wake humanity to the beauty and courage all around and within us.
But there is resistance to your voice. There is a push for sameness. Safety beckons, and it kills. Real heroism is doing what you were made to do, because the world needs it. We need the child you were and can still be, we need your passion and your play. We need you to make your art and set it simply before us, to light the flame that is flickering inside all of us.
There are photographers in every shape and size. The people who want to see pretty logos, read safe copy, and browse similar images will have their needs met. I believe with all my heart that if these words are speaking to you then you are one of the ones created to sing a different song.
Are you ready to remove the pressures and expectations that are keeping the artist you truly are from us?
If you are brave, people will seek you out.
So take a deep breath and look with open eyes and heart at the images you are giving to the world. Are they the ones you feel so deep that they make your hands shake and tears stream down? Or do you hide those images away and only let us see the safe ones?
My goal is to help you pull the old wallpaper off your gallery walls, erase the slogans and draw out the message of who you really are and where you are going; to prepare a simple space where your work can speak. Your art deserves a gallery: well-designed walls to hang the images that speak your soul – the photographs that carry your whole life – and a place to connect as simply and honestly as sharing a glass of wine with friends.
So, I encourage you to take five minutes and put pen to paper. Just write. No second guessing, no erasing, no correcting. It doesn’t have to make sense, just write down the words that your soul spills out. It could be five words or five hundred. Write what you would like to tell the world if you didn’t have a ‘brand’ to worry about.
My hope is that in this moment, you will hear your true voice grow louder, clearer, full of courage.
And then go further. Always go further. Trust yourself to loosen the reins and see where you will wander. Know that this place you’re going to is somewhere that you’re needed and that is why you feel the pull. Forget the fear of failure and success, and just begin simply in a wide open space.
You are not alone, and we need the art that only you can create. We need you to awaken the world with your anthem. So let’s strip away everything that’s silencing you and build a place where you can be heard.
– Sharon McKeeman is the teacher of our brand new class Un-branding, a six-week course sponsored by Squarespace and designed to help strip away distractions, uncover your artistic voice, and create space to showcase your artwork.
This blog was created to encourage, inspire, and feed your mind. Our “Left Brain” series offers food for thought in the form of education, excerpts, and quotes from books, teachers, poems, and leaders.