Frankly, I find his book helpful. Creative Professionals (like me) are caught in a cycle of showing first, what we do, then sometimes, how we do it in an effort to differentiate ourselves from competition. We hope to sell others on our value but can easily forget what value our work has to us personally.
“People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.” – Simon Sinek
Call it our passion but if you’re anything like me, it’s mostly taken for granted until discovering a void. But, if I’m selling my value and forget my “WHY”, then my cause is lost. Actions without a cause won’t accumulate passionate followers.
Here’s Me Starting with Why
I photograph because I see something with which I want to spend more time and of which I want to make partially mine. It’s a quest of surprises; I surprise myself when I frame something that stirs my emotion; a feeling much more than a thought. It’s that moment of surprise that makes me want to do it again and again.
Camera in front of my face, I’m bracing for it. I feel it when it’s there and disappointed when it’s not. So potent is the anticipation of the surprise moment that the senses surrounding a shutter release becomes a jolt of electricity as though feeding an addiction. More please. It’s how you know you’re a photographer. If you don’t feel it, you’re probably not one.
I’m opinionated. My opinion is expressed at the moment I press the shutter. Just like that person on the bus that won’t stop talking about their politics, I’m showing my photographs except you can’t tell me to shut up. My visuals are much more persuasive than my rant. Like passing a car wreck or a promised glimpse of George Clooney, I hope to lure you in.
Simultaneously, at the moment of surprise, I want share my discovery. Post capture it’s the profundity of the find along with the clarity of vision that dictates whether it gets shared or I move on to the next sighting. Can I make you feel my surprise? Can I draw you into the emotional story?
It’s as simple as seeing an unusual shape, color or texture juxtaposed – or as complex as combining an emotional memory with what is happening in front of the camera as an unusual turn of a story. It’s what I see and you don’t until I tell you to look.
I look for beauty but not always conventional beauty [I’m not one of those image makers who can capture horrific human failures and long for more]. Found in stories, moments, emotions and character, beauty is that which I want to make mine.
I produce the media for the joy of making. The fine craft of selective lighting, composition, and tonality rewards my personal expression. The making is often the only path to closure.
I work with advertising, design and editorial businesses for the collaborative creative community that surrounds the industry, while at the same time, it’s what allows me to finance deeper exploration. Like a back stage pass to the world, I can often gain access to opportunities unavailable to those outside the business. - Bruce DeBoer, Photographer
My how and what varies, but the why is remarkably stable.