Values and the Creative Process


©Stella Kalaw

Announcer: I'm sure you have been given awards and recognitions. Are these important to you?


Carmencita: Not really.

Announcer: Although, it's a great affirmation of what you do or how you are doing.

Carmencita: What gives me a lot of satisfaction is the joy of having reached a certain level of playing and being able to share my music.

I got up from the sofa, grabbed a pencil and a piece of scrap paper and scribbled down this part of the radio interview. When T arrived from work yesterday, I shared it with her. Mrs. Aspiras' answer struck a chord with us for we have had several discussions along this line. When it comes down to what we value in our chosen fields above anything else, it is that love for the creative process. T has fought the step up to management because it would take her away from the intimacy of the design process. Her decision is often perceived by others as a lack of ambition. Although she is committed to her values, she confesses that she sometimes struggles with this perception.

In the interview, Mrs. Aspiras mentioned that she practices for 4 hours everyday. It reminds me of how T can get engrossed in front of the computer for hours agonizing over several design directions at the same time she tinkers with the database she built from scratch to improve her workflow. "It's all in the details." she would always say to me.

When I look back at the moments that were fulfilling for me, it was either an idea suddenly came together for a project after mulling it over for months or the process of achieving a certain level of creating pictures that is consistent with my personal vision.

Alex Webb perfectly sums this up through Alec Soth's entry at the Magnum's Blog entitled Wear Good Shoes: Advice to Young Photographers:

Photograph because you love doing it, because you absolutely have to do it, because the chief reward is going to be the process of doing it. Other rewards -- recognition, financial remuneration -- come to so few and are so fleeting. And even if you are somewhat successful, there will almost inevitably be stretches of time when you will be ignored, have little income, or -- often -- both. Certainly there are many other easier ways to make a living in this society. Take photography on as a passion, not a career.