I was lucky enough to be in Tokyo a couple of weeks ago when Trey Ratcliff - the man most famous for his HDR photography, was hosting a free photowalk. Trey was the person who inspired me to pursue photography - after hearing his TED talk I decided that it was possible to redirect your career path at the age of 35, as he had done and it was a real honour for me to be able to tell him this story in person.
Trey started the photowalk with this talk and I decided to transcribe it as I think it's really good life advice that can be applied to whatever you do.
'I don’t let the chaos and the change and the constant flux of the universe bother me, it doesn’t bother me at all and I think that’s because of photography. There’s not that much difference between finding meaning in photography and finding meaning in life, these two things are the same, so be really open to this creative process.
Speaking of creativity, I want to give you a tip on how to help your own creativity and it’s kind of a counter intuitive idea and that is not to take yourself seriously at all because the more seriously you take yourself the harder it is to get those creative juices flowing. I certainly don’t and completely letting go of the ego and being one with the flow of the universe, you have access to a tremendous amount of energy.
Maybe you know people in your life that kind of take themselves too seriously and are often bothered by things, they’re often complaining about things, life isn’t working out the way they think it’s supposed to work out. They’re telling (themselves) this story about how life is supposed to go and what other people are supposed to do and if it doesn’t go according to this completely fictionalised story in their mind they get angry and they get upset and they complain. Well all of that complaining energy is completely wasted energy, that energy should be used creatively.
Imagine going an entire day and not letting anything bother you at all. if nothing bothers you, you have all that energy to create. So practice this, you can’t do it instantly but if every day you take yourself a little less seriously and let less things bother you, you will just notice, you have a lot of energy. I encourage you not to take photography seriously, have it be a silly thing, like a child. If you have children in your life you’ll know children are the most creative people in the world because they don’t take anything seriously. So have a child like approach to your camera - play with it, don’t worry about taking a bad photo, experiment and have fun, don’t be hard on yourself and keep creating'.