Photo taken in December 2010 on a cool, wintery day in London. The first trip I had ever taken overseas and the first time I had ever ran into issues while traveling. This post comes days before I take another step and travel to Asia to experience another new culture and experience what life has to offer.
Watching Amy Cuddy’s TED Talk and reading Davis Usher’s book Let the Elephant’s Run inspired me to pick up the computer, sit down, and write a few words. Amy’s words “I’m not supposed to be here” resonate within me. Photography, this blog, I’m not supposed to be here. It’s a voice that is always there and even when talking to people you can quickly see their own voices saying the same thing.
“You’re photography is amateur at best and your writing can be summed up as a series of words on a page”. There’s my voice. It’s a voice of someone who has taken thousands of photos and never spent any time looking at them once they were stored on the computer. The voice of someone who has read over a thousand books and spends time studying things for fun but applies these things quietly never putting a word to paper. And the voice of someone who has always felt lacking when it comes to anything creative.
Then events in life show you what failure feels like and perhaps a light switch goes off. The realization that failure is what we needed. That we are still here and despite feeling like the lowest person on the face of the earth the world continues to turn and moves on, with or without us.
In December 2010 I had just joined a new Company with offices internationally. One of the opportunities was to visit the various offices including an office north of London. My first trip overseas; it was exciting and scary at the same time. The trip was a week long and went of without a hitch. Flying to London, renting a car, driving North into the rural communities and meeting some great people. No issues, made it back to London an decided on an extra day to try and do some sight seeing. Sunday was a different story.
In Calgary we would call it a light dusting; a skiff of snow at the most. London’s reaction is entirely different. It was a blizzard unseen in years. The snow amounted to 3-4 inches of wet snow that quickly froze on the ground and brought Heathrow to it’s knees; for four days. Imagine the millions of people impacted over the four days with Heathrow being one of the most important connecting airports in the world. Air traffic was completely halted. It took almost two days to get the first flight out and it wasn’t to Calgary. It was the major flights to other major hubs. New York City, Hong Kong, Instanbul.
I had already checked in to my flight, delivered my bags to the counter and waited patiently at the gate. Six hours later it became apparent that no flights would be leaving on Sunday. Left with my carry on I decided to no longer wait at the Airport and made my way back into London and it became one of the most exciting trips of my life.
With literally the clothes on my back I spent 3 days exploring London and seeing a city I never would have had the chance to check out. Riding the tube, visiting the various Circus’, museums, and historical sights I fell in love with London. A mix of New World business with the history encompassing one of the greatest empires ever to reign.
Despite almost missing Christmas, you quickly realize that you can rely on yourself. You can figure this out. We all have stories like this. Something goes wrong, we imagine all of the possibilities, and then we move on. This is a rather mild story in comparison to others in my life but it was also a story of me taking hundreds of photos that simply existed on my hard drive.
The cover photo is one of them and captures some of the beauty that I found in London. The buildings, the people, the world rushing by and yet pockets of calm found in the history. Nobody has ever seen this photo until now. “It’s amateur at best.” That’s ok. We are all amateurs with varying degrees of experience behind us. Just because some get paid or recognized doesn’t mean there isn’t an amateur under there.
“Do you have the courage to bring forth the treasures that are hidden within you?” – Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic
David Usher’s book Let the Elephant’s Run and now Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic along with Amy Cuddy all deliver the same message. Be brave. Creativity is about being brave. Amy goes one step further to say fake it until you become it but within that is bravery. Is it brave to put a few photos up and write a few words down. Well to me yes. Yes it is. It’s brave because until now it’s something I’ve never been comfortable with.
As I’ve mentioned previously, these posts don’t just flow. Chances are this one will go up and my mind will immediately go to “Well I have nothing else to write about” and the process starts all over. A picture strikes my imagination and then a story starts to develop and maybe a few words make it down here. We all have those pathways within us. Think about something you have always wanted to do and be brave. Perhaps you need a little motivation so pick up any of the books mentioned here or watch Amy’s TED Talk. If you aren’t inspired (what!?) then seek out other sources of a creative spark. What inspires you? Use that as a springboard to find your own creativity. As Amy says “Fake it Until You Become It.”