A quest to find a few pictures from the 1960s led one man to discover epic, hidden pictures the world has not seen.
It was 2007, and John Maloof was working on a book about Chicago’s northwest neighborhoods. On this particular day, he was hoping to find pictures he would use for his book. He purchased boxes full of negatives from a local auction house. He developed some images.
What he discovered was far more interesting. The images he printed out were the greatest photographic discovery of the 21st century.
He was stunned.
In front of him were thousands of breath-taking pictures of people and architecture. Maloof could not take his eyes off the stunning pictures. Why have I not seen these pictures before? Why are these staggering pictures hidden away from the world? He kept asking himself.
Maloof tried to find this talented photographer. A woman named Vivian Dorothy Maier took the images he discovered. When Maloof tried to dig deep, he could find nothing.
Nobody had ever heard of this woman.
Vivian Maier took photographs for 40 years. She worked as a nanny for wealthy families in Chicago and New York while pursuing photography. She took nearly 150,000 photos of the people and architecture that surrounded her.
Maloof could not believe he was holding world-class pictures in his hand.
After processing thousands of images, he collected 100 of the best photos and posted them online. People loved them. His phone kept ringing. Major newspapers wanted to know how he discovered these hidden treasures. Galleries began to exhibit Vivian’s work throughout the United States, Europe, and Asia.
Why am I telling you Vivian’s story? Because I want to inspire you to create and share your creativity with the world.
Which creativity talents are you keeping tucked away in boxes?
Long before I was publishing articles for the world to read, I wrote in a private journal. I did this for 14 years (15–29 years old). I played it safe and tried to shield my words from criticism and judgment. I gave myself many excuses. But every excuse boiled down to fear. Fear shoved my creativity inside a box for years.
We don’t know why Vivian hid her epic pictures from the world.
She had her reasons. What I’m interested in is if we’re keeping our creativity tucked away in boxes. From many of my aspiring writer friends and personal story, I’ve learned fear stands in our way of creativity.
Fear prevented me from sharing my creativity with the world for 14 years.
What creative talent do you have that you are hiding away?
Creativity is what you share, not what you know or harbor within yourself. I’ve friends who write in their journals and have no desire to share their work. But I’ve also friends who are writing in their journals daily and want to publish their work. But they’re terrified.
I’m writing this article to you who’re struggling to find your courage to share your creativity with the world.
Unshared creativity is like a treasure buried inside your head or a box. No one can see the treasure. The world is lucky that someone like John has discovered Vivian’s treasured photographs.
We don’t want to leave our creativity to chance. We don’t want to wait until we are dead for someone like John Maloof to discover our creative work.
We want to free our fear of creativity and share our work with the world.
Understand how fear works.
“Do not create! Because your creativity will end up in your horrible, bloody death!”
Fear is a song with only one note — only one word, actually –“Stop!”
Fear is always going to be present when you try to create because creativity asks you to try something new and you don’t know what the outcome will be. Fear’s close friends — doubt and terror — will always barge in when you try to create. “Are you sure you can create?” “You have never even done this before.” “What if you fail?” “Why bother if you can’t be the best?” “Walk away!”
Fear’s job is to make you doubt yourself. It tells you; you have no business creating. Fear shuts your creativity down. Its terrifying voice makes you shove your creativity in a box, never to be opened again.
To fight this enemy called fear, remember this…
All creators are afraid. Those who keep on creating create despite their fear of creativity.
Then, what is our savior which holds our hands and defies fear when we create?
We’re more curious about what we can create than we’re afraid of creating it.
Curiosity is how I found the courage to open the box collecting my journals through the years and started sharing my work with the world.
You can win the lottery and become rich overnight, but no one has ever mastered the fear of creativity by chance. Creativity is never an accident. Whether we are talking about writers, painters, photographers, or innovative business owners, the story is the same. If you want to create something, build something, then you must learn how to create despite your fear.
People who create things do not have to pass some ultimate fear conquering test to verify they are the right person to create. They don’t take magic pills that help them defeat fear to create something. They choose to create despite fear barging in their creativity room.
How can we create, despite the fear of creativity?
Curiosity might help.
People who see me create consistently think I am a daredevil. I’m not. I’m afraid to create every time I sit in front of my computer. Fear creeps in, whispering to me, “You have no business creating. Stop this nonsense now.”
Instead of fighting fear, I talk to it lovingly, “I know you’re here to stop me from creating. I understand why you’re here. But I’m here to tell you I’m curious to see what I can create.” When fear sees curiosity is in my creativity room, it sleeps at the bottom of my bed.
Fear can’t stand winning against curiosity. Every time you create with a curiosity to create something, fear’s loud voice gets silenced.
Using curiosity might do wonders for your creativity. And this is not a onetime thing.
It’s no less frightening now when I’m publishing my 1000th article than it was on my first article. I go through the same cycle. Whenever fear creeps in, I talk to it lovingly and let curiosity in. That tiny grain of curiosity makes me keep creating.
Have I convinced you of the power of curiosity to free your fear of creativity? If not, consider this…
You’ll be a different person at the end of creating something than you were at the beginning.
No one can promise you, people are going to love your creative work, or everybody will like it. You can’t be sure of the outcome of your creativity. No one can promise you that.
What you can be sure of is that you will be a different person at the end of creating something than you were at the beginning. 100%. You’ll be a creator who dared to create something.
Whatever you want to create. Writing a book. Starting a business. Programming a piece of software. Taking a photo. Building a blog. Discovering who you’ll be after creating something is a compelling reason to create something, anything.
Turn your creativity into an article, a blog post, a book, a music, a video, a photo, a business. Because aren’t you a little bit curious about who you will be at the end of creating something? What you can create? How your creative work will be received by the world?
That’s why I keep on creating. Sometimes that is the only thing that makes me create.
Do you have the courage to go on a hunt for your creativity?
Creativity can change the world. It can entertain. It can delight. It can persuade someone you don’t know to change for the better.
Do you have courage? The courage to bring forth your work? The treasures that are hidden inside you? To go on a hunt for your creativity? To put a small dent in your corner of the universe? To turn your story and idea into creative work?
To be more curious than you are frightened of creating?
You don’t have to be 100% brave and confident. You just have to be a tiny, tiny bit more interested in creating something than you are frightened of it. Curiosity has helped me to become a professional writer.
I hope it can help you free your fear of creativity.
Let us not wait for someone like John Maloof to discover our creativity after our death. Let us choose to create and share our work with the rest of the world.
Join my readers for similar content: Banchi Inspirations