I share quotes from David duChemin often. Really often. As I read his posts, I find myself nodding my head in agreement - often. And many times, I find his thinking out loud makes me question and reconsider my assumptions, biases, and previously held notions. The guy has a gift - not only for creating images that matter but also for bringing out the best in his fellow photographers. His perspective rings true for me and reminds me of a simple but profound lesson I learned as child about letting my light shine.
We do not give our gift—whatever it is—into the world to validate us, to tell the world how good, how bright, talented, or relevant, we are. We give it as a gift. And as is so often the case with a gift we do not know how the recipient will receive it. But there’s a good chance they need it; that there are souls that have been waiting for this moment to hear from you, to give them the nudge forward that they need to find the courage to stand on the edge of their own chasm and relax the white-knuckled death-grip they have on their own art and give that, too, to the world.
We do not give our gift as barter. I do not give my art in the promise that you (or anyone at all) will reciprocate. I give it because the gift has to keep moving. I give it because light travels in a line, not a circle. Does that make sense? We pour what we have and who we are into the stream and it moves on. To do otherwise, to expect it to come around, is to put our art into a cistern, not a stream. There’s no surer way to stagnate as an artist than to do it for the reward, or to hold back from putting it out there for fear of never getting one.