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‘You Must Create’: This Spoken Word is Inspiration for Photographers


Photographers can easily become distracted by the pursuit of things like popularity and success, but one thing that many photographers find beneficial is going out and creating photos just for themselves rather than for others. Here’s a 5-minute spoken word performance titled “You Must Create” that encourages photographers to do just that.

This dose of inspiration was created in collaboration between The School of Photography and spoken word poet and artist Ölmo Lazarus of Poetry to Succeed.

Here’s a transcript of the poem:

So you haven’t got a million followers,
You haven’t got a million pounds,
You haven’t conquered the scene, let alone your hometown
And although you’ve searched for a greatness that can’t be found
And you’ve screamed into the wind without making a sound,
And now can’t see beyond the darkening clouds,
Can you really reach for Olympus, from down on the ground?

But you ain’t a David Bailey, Da Vinci or Dostoyevsky,
A revolutionary, romantic or a household name,
And it’s a shame – because you feel you have something to say
A story to tell,
A moment to capture,
A picture to paint,

And yet this remains…hidden,
Away from view,
Behind a mask fashioned of everyday life, deadlines, and fatigue,
Clouded in self-doubt and excuses – “It’s useless to try”
But why?
I know you’ve felt the itching in your palms,
The twitches in your eye,
I know the compulsion you are trying to hide,
I know what’s keeping you up at night,
The fear that maybe if you tried – you might fail
You might just do this

So just create,
Create without a need for it to be seen,
Without a plan or a scheme,
Because in every footstep there is something new,
Every time you see the world, you see a world renewed,
Imperceptible aging on a loved one’s face,
Memories lost in a faraway place,
A place and a time,
Captured in your lens,

They say change is the only constant,
Yet you alone have the power to capture that moment,
Cradle an idea,
Preserve a feeling or a thought for prosperity,
Not for celebrity, not for personal gain, not to elevate your name, money or fame,
Not to impress, not to depress, force a worldview or reinforce your own,

But because you must,
You must create,

This is the oxygen in your veins, the beating of your heart,
This is as simple as converting proteins into amino acids,
This is breathing,
You contract your diaphragm and inhale all that you see,
Through thoughts, and vision, a camera, a lens,
You exhale your art,

Only giving as much as you take,
You are the artist,
And you must create,

So I give you a pen to hold,
Eyes to see,
Hands to sculpt,
And a throat to sing,
I give you a camera in hand,
And a foot on the stage,
I have opened your book and it’s all a blank page,
Your future is unwritten; you decide your own fate,

For you are the artist,
And you must create.

“We all need motivation every now and then, so here is a motivational speech to inspire you to get out there and create!” The School of Photography writes. “Sometimes we feel like we’re doing this to impress others, or for likes and followers, but when it comes down do it, you should really be doing it for yourself. For you are the artist, and you must create.

“We hope this inspirational video has given you the urge to get out and just create photography for you – this is when it truly matters.”

You can find more videos and resources by The School of Photography on its website and YouTube channel.