William Oldacre Photography

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Building A Legacy

Light Signatures series, day, colour photograph, art, abstract, abstract expressionism, creative, city street, urban, downtown, cityscape, speed, blur, movement, motion, blue, green, muted, streaks, layering, patterns

Turquoise Green Yellow Lines, 2012 – Light Signatures :: (Click to see more)

I read a post by Chris Guillebeau some time ago in which he wrote about building a legacy. At the time I was beginning to feel at loose ends about my creative efforts and starting to think they were perhaps valueless in the overall scheme of things. Then I read Chris’s post and I thought wow – not true. My creative efforts taken as a whole over the course of my life are my true legacy and THAT is worth striving, struggling and working hard for – a noble and worthy life goal.

Now, this is by no means my only legacy. I’m fortunate to have a young son and he is another legacy of sorts and of course there are other less obvious legacies – like my small social efforts – leading by example etc. Taken as a whole they comprise my singular contribution to society and future generations. This is exactly what we are ALL doing every day of our lives – slowly inexorably building our own legacies.

For a long time now I’ve struggled with a strong feeling of unworthiness in regard to my creative efforts. I wasn’t formally schooled in art. I have no training in art history. I only ever attended a one year college photography program to gain some specific technical training and a single first year sculpture fine arts university course. So I feel overwhelmingly under qualified to call myself an artist.

But, lately I’ve had a growing sense of entitlement about who I am and what I do – a self-awareness of sorts. Reading Chris’s post about building a legacy only served to snap it all into perspective – to provide a completing sense of purpose to the whole endeavour.

In truth, it’s not like I haven’t put in a huge amount of effort to learn on my own for many years in many varied areas. I have a degree in computer science, I’ve attended countless workshops and seminars, visited many galleries and openings, read a ba-zillion books, blog posts, FAQs, help files – you name it – if it was related to my pursuits or interesting I gobbled it up. I had an extensive and in retrospect fairly intense period of music training from about age 9 to 19 in piano, trombone, voice and theory – which I find surprisingly is still buried deep within me as I take my son to his new music lessons. I have pursued my interest in photography since the age of 10 when I remember asking for a tour of our family portrait photographer’s dark room to see how this mysterious thing called photography worked – that was 37 years ago when my personal exploration of photography began.

Over the past 4 years I’ve spent pretty much all my creative effort analyzing my work, thinking about what I’m doing and why. In a nutshell – trying to figure out how to explain myself.

Why do I make the work I do?
What am I trying to communicate with my work?
What is the thread of my interest?
Where does the source of that thread originate?

For a long time I’ve felt my answers were shallow, trite, ill considered and cliche. But slowly – recently – I feel I’m finally arriving at an honest answer to these questions about who I am and – as I’ve said before the most important question of all – WHY.