“I struggle with my WHY,” she said, “I don’t have one and I feel like I should.”
This artist paints florals, gorgeous florals, and every time I see them, they bring breath and ease and beauty to my lungs. I responded to her comment that sometimes, we don’t need a bigger WHY than ourselves. Sometimes, the WHY can simply be creating beauty because the reminder of beauty is so needed in this world today.
(This was from a recent conversational thread in an artist’s group I am a part of. )
And also, there was this article I’ve thought back to a lot over the past year…it must have been late last summer, a piece in the Business of Fashion (I think by Tim Blanks) where he said fashion lost its fantasy. Up until this spring 2019, I have to agree...street wear, fast fashion, ready to wear, drops...they dominate the world of fashion today and (generally) where has the couture and fantasy gone?
Where are the silhouettes and the collections that inspire us to dream? Where is the anticipation and the excitement that leads us season to season? Where is the build up to the reveal for a collection that defines a year? A movement? So much of what we consume and produce in this contemporary world is here today, gone tomorrow. No more is there an emphasis on beauty and the skill it takes to create that beauty. (And yes, there are exceptions, like the contemporary works of PIERPAOLO PICCIOLI at Moncler Genius and Valentino, or Giambattista Valli and his creations with tulle, the works of Tim Walker and Erik Madigan Heck.)
I came across this article at a time when I also began to think about the role fantasy played in my photography, the role inspiration played. As an artist there is the responsibility to produce work as a service: to reveal, to bring about change, to heal, to highlight the political and social climate...and also, to inspire.
Many artists think their work is worthless if there isn’t a big WHY or purpose behind it, but sometimes the WHY can simply be to inspire others to dream, to look forward, to see what they themselves are capable of. That is huge.
When I work with portrait clients, I’ve always asked them: Who do you want to be? How do you want to show up in your fullest expression of self? Where do you want to reign queen?
But, going forward, I might just put it this way: What is your fantasy?
What does your highest octave of self look and act like? Let’s capture that. Because those photographs of fantasy are the ones we end up keeping close to us forever. Those are the photographs we look at time and time again. Those are the photographs we turn to when we are in a personal despair. Those are the photographs that remind us of our strength and to keep going when we feel we have none.
If you are an artist or someone who engages in art, remember this: creating to create is OK. Creating because beauty inspires you and beauty wants to pour forth from you is OK. It’s more than OK. It’s necessary.
So the next time you are thinking about getting photographs for your brand or for yourself, or offering up a creative service to someone else, think about how you want to show up as your fantasy and how you can provide fantasy for your client or viewer — because it’s the embodiment of that energy that is going to inspire your viewers to join your mission and vision and dream big alongside you.
We are human. We thrive on pleasure and fantasy.