What’s Your Excuse? Tash Wrote a Cookbook…

Everyone can live a more creative life. The access to so many tools to execute your particular artistic objectives must drive the ghost of Shakespeare to #SMH.

The same thing that has destroyed the book industry has democratised it. Computers and the internet have decimated the traditional publishing business, but at the same time has enabled anyone with a laptop and interweb access can print a book they have written. Or publish an e-book. Always thought you could do a better Better Homes and Garden? Put your money where your mouth is – write, design, and publish it.

My photography buddy Natasha has just published a cook book of her Nanna’s favourite recipes.

You can pick up a copy here.


Tash spent what I imagine to be quite a few weekends reading her Nanna’s recipes, testing them, photographing them, and then writing and laying out the book. Now she is an amazing, published cooking author. She kept going through the difficult times in any project when you aren’t sure if it is ever going to be finished or if it is going to be any good.

No excuses, just action and achievement.

Digital photography has completely broken down the “sometimes” or “special” occasion nature of film photography. There is zero cost to snap a moment vs the expensive and complex film processes. iPhone photography has further encouraged people to engage in developing an aesthetic style for their instagram, or their creative skills in creating an account for their dog or cat to live through.

There is no excuse for not living the creative life you aspire to. I work professionally in the food marketing business. My job is to try and understand what kinds of lives people aspire to and then develop food that can help them reach their ideal life… or at least give them a small moment to experience that life in.

The only barrier is your own approach. Read this article from Harvard Business Review and then come back… It is not the standard “how to set and reach a goal” article.


Some thought starters…

  • Get Specific. Set a creative goal that is time bound. For a photographer, the two that make the most sense are to either publish a photobook or hold an exhibition. By setting a deadline to work to, you will be more likely to deliver the project. Having a goal gives you a constant reason to get out, photograph, curate, and shortlist continuously.
  • Seize the Moment. Set aside time to engage in your creative tasks. I try and go out to shoot every Saturday morning, and then process my films in the afternoon. It also means being spontaneous. If you are just couch surfing on the weekend, just make a choice to pick up your camera and walk out the front door. The TV will still be there when you get back.
  • Knowing Exactly How Far You Have Left to Go. A bit more challenging, but can be as simply as knowing you need 15 images for an exhibition and how many you currently have short listed.
  • Be a Realistic Optimist. There is some pop psychology fact out there saying that believing you are creative is the biggest driver of creative success. If you believe you ARE creative, it will change the way your mind thinks to BE MORE creative. Once you make a decision to pursue street photography, engage with it. Read books, blogs, look at the photos of others, share your photos, participate in forums. Do anything but isolate yourself.
  • Focus on Getting Better Rather than Being Good. I don’t think any artist, athlete, or entrepreneur is ever satisfied. Their success comes from a constant need to improve and learn. Be the same. If you think you have mastered street photography, let me know… I have been doing this now for at least ten years. There are times when I am elated with my images, and other times deflated by how much there is still to learn. The journey is one that never ends, everyone is on, but all at different spots along the path. I am a lot further along the path than I was five years ago, but then I see people like Vivian Maier and Fan Ho a long way off in the distance, on the same path. So long as I keep moving along the path, I am happy.
  • Have Grit. The start is easy, and once the finishing line is in sight, it gets easy again. The middle part of your creative project is the hardest. You cannot see the end goal being realised yet, but have to keep at it. No matter how much your project may miss on your original expectations, the most important thing is to finish it.
  • Build Your Willpower Muscle. Do things you don’t want to. Get out and shoot, rain hail or shine. Take more photos of people and get closer. Don’t be afraid. Push hard. Then harder again.
  • Don’t Tempt Fate. Don’t overpromise to yourself – if you overcommit on projects you are more likely to fail. Be realistic but optimistic. Ramp up your commitment mid project if you are feeling good, but don’t go too hard at the start!
  • Focus On What You Will Do. Phrasing it “I am going to spend Saturday Morning shooting” rather than “I am not going to watch Saturday Morning Cartoons on Fox8” is more effective for your motivation…

What’s your project going to be?

Over the years my projects have been a few exhibitions, some photobooks (usually of street photography trips overseas) and this blog.

If it is not street photography, explore what else is out there. November is Nanowrimo – National Novel Writing Month. Why not commit yourself to writing about 1600 words a day to finish with a short novel at the end of the month? I did a few years back – yah, the book was complete rubbish about the zombie apocalypse before it got all trendy again, but at least I can say I wrote a book in my lifetime.

And a Final Word. 

Support those who do creative things as best you can. At the very first self-organised exhibition of photography I put on with some friends many years ago, I made the opening speech. We had a lot of friends and family attending – the gallery was packed.

“And if you buy something, thank you. I cannot explain just how exciting and rewarding it is for the artist when you like something enough to buy it and put it up at home or wherever.”

I love the cookbook, and hope that Tash also gets a bit of buzz knowing I liked her project enough to part with some cash to have it.


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