I just finished reading Karl Marx’s “Capital” and “The Communist Manifesto”—and I was so amazed to see how modern a lot of his ideas are.
I think one of the biggest things I took away from his book is the idea that we are being estranged from our labor—that we no longer have the control of the “means of production”, and what that means is that we no longer have the ability to have control over what we produce.
But the great thing about today’s digital age is that we no longer have that issue. We have control of all the “mean of production”—meaning that with a laptop and an Internet connection; we can creatively express ourselves in any way possible.
For example as photographers, we no longer have to be slaves of the tyranny of developing film at third-party places. We are able to do all the shooting digitally, processing digitally, and sharing of images digitally. There is nothing that holds us back anymore—we have total creative freedom from the beginning to the end.
As a creative, you might also feel like you have some interesting ideas or thoughts to share with the world. Your thoughts are unique and valuable—but you are afraid that your ideas will simply disappear into the digital ether; that nobody will ever have the chance to appreciate your ideas.
Gone. Now we have all these online publishing platforms—which sure, we can’t make a living from our ideas, but at least we can put our ideas out there. You can get a free blog on any service nowadays, publish directly to social media, or just type it out on your laptop and share it directly with friends.
We have no more excuses. We have access to all of these “free” digital online tools—open-source, Google, and other tools which free us.
So what is holding us back now? Simply the fact that we are afraid—we are afraid of being judged, criticized, and having our creativity be subjected to the critical eyes of the masses.
What are you afraid of?
For example, a lot of what stops me creatively is the fear of being judged. After all, nobody wants to be excluded from the tribe. Nobody likes being criticized, ridiculed—because in primitive times, that would mean a certain death.
So in today’s world—we only have the fear of fear itself.
Who even cares if others don’t like our work? Just because they don’t like our work; doesn’t mean that they don’t like us as human beings. What we need to do is learn how to separate ourselves from our work.
We are not our work—we produce the work, but once the work is created, it is separate from us.
The problem is that we treat our work like our children. But our work doesn’t have feelings, thoughts, or emotions. So why are we afraid?
Don’t be afraid. Have creative confidence in yourself. Make the work you were destined to make.
About the author: Eric Kim is an international street photographer who’s currently based out of Berkeley, California. You can find more of his photography and writing on his website and blog. This article was also published here.