6 – Listen to the Voice in Your Head


Last year I began posting a series of essays on things I learned about photography that I did not learn in a textbook. Hence the name:

Photography After the Textbook

To date, I’ve written seven or so of these essays and will be reposting them here, on OnlinePhotographyTraining.com — rewritten for clarity where needed. I will write new ones as well, when the muse strikes me.

Here is the sixth essay I wrote, titled:

Listen to the Voice in Your Head

A few years ago, I was watching a special on The Beach Boys. It was an in depth documentary with numerous interviews and old footage and out of all of that, one thing stuck with me – that was something that Brian Wilson’s ex-wife said about Brian concerning his famous and signature falsetto voice. She was telling a story about when the Beach Boys were just starting out — Brian was practicing singing in a falsetto and was apprehensive about doing it during a show but with encouragement from her and his brothers, he decided to risk it. He did it that evening, and someone in the crowd laughed. She said Brian felt humiliated and was embarrassed vowing to never sing in a falsetto again. Fortunately, his band mates got him to change his mind, and the rest is history.

That got me thinking about how what we do is often dictated by how those around us might react. How much creative innovation is locked forever in a person’s cranium because they’re afraid of what others might say?

It’s nice to get advice and to seek opinion on your work, but there may come a time when you have a singular creative vision of something. That is something that, while you’re working on, may be ignored or even ridiculed by your peers and teachers. Don’t allow that to dissuade you from your goal because if everyone thought that way, we wouldn’t have seen William Klein shooting high fashion in the street with wide angle and long lenses. The sparse stripped down portraiture of Irving Penn, nor would we have heard the falsetto harmony in I Get Around.