I recently came across a post on Facebook from Geoff Wedge, a friend, fellow photographer and graduate from the Documentary Photography course at the University of Wales, Newport. Even though we graduated from the course almost 10 years ago, the words in this speech still ring true. With social media offering every opportunity to keep tabs on the achievements of your friends, colleagues, mentors rivals and even your enemies! While doing this, it's hard to maintain ones integrity when it comes to your own creative practice.
Watching this clip of the young American photographer Ryan McGinley's speech to a group of graduating students from the Parsons School of Design, posted by Vice Magazine on YouTube, prompted me to think of some of my own fears and misgivings about producing and showing my work. Creativity is subjective, some people will like your work and others just don't get it. No Matter! Plough your own furrow and believe in your own creativity, use the unique experiences of your own life to open a visual dialogue with others. Enjoy your own perspective on the world.
Plough your own furrow, to me this mantra sounds familiar but how many of us actually have the courage to do this. For those who need a little more encouragement and a sprinkle of reassurance it's worth digging into the Guardian Newspapers archive. On the 23rd of February 2013 Oliver Burkeman wrote an article that eludes to pretty much the same thing, his feature, Helsinki Bus Station Theory stresses the need for individuality. While is important to gain perspective by examining other peoples work, we should not be scared of our unique perspective of the world, but instead utilise it, embrace it, even exploit it as it's you unique selling point.