Alright photographers, here’s something esoteric from a person that isn’t esoteric at all. For a minute, let’s just forget about all the settings, lenses and cameras we photographers love to talk about all day long. This article is solely dedicated to your inner creative soul. That deep, underlying voice of your photography that influences all your creative decisions. What is it in you that actually leads to hitting the shutter?
When you got up in the mornings, you didn’t sleep in. You got out of your bed as quickly as possible to get back to drawing, painting and building what your imagination wanted to see in the world. Wasn’t that wonderful? Your inner creative soul had so much room to breathe and shine that it probably filled your life with happiness.
As you got older, your childish imagination got confronted with all sorts of outside stimuli. I’ll call it “the real world”. Going to school, doing homework, learning things you didn’t want to learn, your first household duties. Your imagination was still there, but all these new elements took away space and energy.
As the years went by, deeper questions and serious responsibilities conquered the soul that was once completely inhabited by this innocent, curious inner child of yours.
Nowadays, I imagine that you get in touch with your creative soul either every now and then or as a necessary change of scenery to your daily life. Financial matters, employment and family concerns can make it even harder to give your inner creative soul proper room to breathe and express itself. Deep down you always know that it’s still there, but it seems almost impossible to fully connect with it.
Your inner creative soul is something infinitely powerful, but unfortunately it’s also insanely breakable. In order to help you avoid what I went through, I’d love to describe the unfortunate events that led to this conclusion.
Ever since I was a child I loved creating things. Since school didn’t mean much to me, I kept exploring all sorts of ways to express myself in my free time. I wrote, coded, designed, made videos, played music and drew. It was so much fun to simply follow that inner child every day once school was over. I gave it as much room as possible till one question poisoned it for years to come: what am I going to do for a living?
I desperately wanted to work creatively and looked for “realistic” opportunities. One day, after months of grinding my creative soul to bits and pieces in an advertising agency, my soul and I broke completely. I became severely depressed for half a year and I couldn’t express myself at all anymore. I couldn’t write one single sentence. I had lost that happy and curious inner child of mine for the first time in this jungle called corporate life.
I thought the way to gain him back was to put him to the side and keep the pressure of him away. I decided to do something for a living that demanded more of a rational mind than a creative one. I finished my university studies and started working in market research. After months of crunching numbers in a cubicle farm, my inner creative soul finally returned from the grave. It was alive and kicking again!
In order to survive my monotonous cubicle job, I did a 365 project after work for a year. During that year my inner child grew bigger and bigger until all of a sudden I was him again. I realized that I was doing market research for a living, but my inner child was living for photography.
After a while, I couldn’t lie to myself anymore. I quit my job to follow my heart and become my inner child again. All of a sudden, I was as happy as a kid again. After yet another bout with depression, financial struggles, and working day and night for the next 1.5 years, I realized that all these struggles turned my inner child into my profession in “the real world”.
How about your inner child? Have you just started exploring your creative soul, or is it already where you want it to be? Have you found the right medium, tools and schedule to express your muse? Do you think you could describe your inner creative soul?
The healthiest way to meet your inner creative soul is expressing it in a way that it’s rooted in your personality and lifestyle. If you are a happy, colorful person on the inside, let those colors shine in the world through your art. Maybe you consider yourself a broken soul with a dark past. Even if it makes you sad, embrace your past and express it in ways that fulfill yourself and help others. That way even the dark days will have a dancing child in them.
Is your creative soul strongly tied to your rational mind that loves to keep itself busy with numbers and algorithms? Then let that inner structure and order of yours flow into your photography. It may take a while to reunite your inner child with that grown up, tax-paying citizen, but it works. It’s still there and it wants to break free!
No matter how you are connected to it, listen to your heart and follow the direction it whispers to you. Even if it’s something you have never done before. Maybe it’s a direction you never imagined yourself taking. Just go and follow that passion of yours. I’m convinced that a deep passion with a positive outlook on life combined with discipline will always lead you wherever your heart deserves to be.
Even if you are incredibly busy right now, take some time out of your day and connect to your inner creative soul. Rediscover that inner child and take it by the hand. Be one with it. Introduce it to something you feel passionate about. It doesn’t matter whether it’s producing music, cooking or taking photos.
Who says it’s impossible to pay your rent, take care of insurances and pay taxes while dancing to the rhythm of your inner creative soul? If you bring positivity, creativity and love into this world, there will always be people who appreciate it. Just let your inner colors flow into the world. That way you will not only make yourself happy, but also others.
Never forget: there is no file in the drawer of a child called “all the things that could go wrong”. Enough with the words, let’s play! Grab your camera right now, get out there even if it’s raining or snowing, and jump with your inner child into endless puddles of creative happiness…
…and have some cake after bedtime!
About the author: Marius Vieth is a 21-time award-winning German fine art photographer focused on street photography currently based in Amsterdam and Miami. He travels around the world, manages his own fine art label, NEOPRIME, and writes books about photography. You can join him on his creative journey around the world on his website, YouTube Channel, Facebook, Flickr, 500px, Google Plus and Twitter. This article was also published here.