I was chatting with Maggie about her artwork. It occurs to me that I have many friends who are artists, and I guess as a photographer, I count myself among them. We were talking about how when you create a piece of work, it is utterly yours, but if someone else helps you, is the end result truly your own?

This for me raised a massive question, how are any of us authentic? I heard recently that we are exposed to as much new information in a day as a person living a couple of hundred years ago did in a lifetime. I don’t know how true this actually is, but it feels as if it could be. I also thought about a quote from Frankenstein, stating that a person is happiest when they believe their back garden to be their world. I think there is truth in this too.

But back to the artwork, or indeed any creative expression. W are influenced by so many things that it would be almost impossible to trace back an idea to its origins. We read books, follow traditions, watch television (or not..), see advertising everywhere, look at social media streams, and countless other ways of absorbing new information. And then we interact with others who have done exactly the same. So any one idea or thought, passion or belief is almost untraceable. We are information sponges, and it gives us possibility.

And back to the artwork (again..). I think if you help someone personally, giving your time to them, there is a sense of gratitude from them that accompanies that. In many circumstances, this is straight forward, appreciation is most happy making to receive! But if you feel gratitude for someone helping you to create something then I see how that could feel like diminished ownership, but it really isn’t.

Any work I produce I know has come from all my experiences, whether that was a direct idea of another or from a connection that I have made from the assembly of information in my head. Both are equally as valid. Art should be celebrated, knowing that it is derived from a culture of collective understanding, and as such it shines.

Map Point. How do I express my authentic self?

 

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