Intro by Skip Cohen

A few months ago Suzette Allen shared the post below. As so often happens with things she writes and shares, it hit home.

I can’t begin to count the times I’ve decided not to take the shot, both with and without a camera. With a camera is obvious – it just wasn’t perfect. From my location to the time of day to the mood I was in, I decided to pass.

But without a camera is the more significant moment – maybe it was an idea I was going to write about or an old friend I was going to call…for whatever reasons I didn’t follow through. I chose to listen to my internal critic and not take the next step.

And that’s where Suzette comes in…

“BUT, if we silence the critic in our minds and just create from the heart and DO what we LOVE, our own unique Visual Voice emerges!”

She makes so much sense in this post. We allow our critical selves to bury what might have been a great idea. Or, if nothing else, whatever it was, might have been a stepping stone to something even bigger and better.

The bottom line…Follow Your Bliss!

 

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“At your service, Ma’am! Tell me where you want to go!”

 

We only had one day in Venice. We hadn’t planned to go because “it’s so touristy and commercialized,” people said. Plus, it was quite a way off the 16-day itinerary loop we planned in Tuscany, Italy. But when we got to Bologna and it looked a lot like a tired version of a shabby American city complete with lots of graffiti and riff-raff, we decided to take the Italo—the high-speed train to Venice for the day! We took the first train out in the morning and returned on the last one of the day. And Oh, what a Great Day it was!!  It ranks right up in the top 3 days of the whole vacation… perhaps it was the BEST day…. yeah, it probably was!

So yeah: it WAS geared toward tourism, no doubt. And yeah, we DID take the boat ride around the city and loved every second. And we ALSO walked over the epic Rialto Bridge and took the SAME SHOT that every tourist takes: the quintessential View of Venice from the Rialto Bridge. [x] bucket list item checked! [x] been there, done that.

Of course, I could say, “oh, this is crap and it’s been done a thousand times before (and much better) by thousands of photographers”, right?

Clearly, it was not exactly the ideal light or time of day. Sometimes that’s what you get!

BUT, if we silence the critic in our minds and just create from the heart and DO what we LOVE, our own unique Visual Voice emerges! And yes, it is unlike any others! Here is my final image, and I love it! I’m so glad I didn’t disqualify myself and talk myself out of my art! (don’t we just do that sometimes?)

BUT—I have to share one of my favorite images of the day—“Gondola Guy”. We just walked down under the Rialto Bridge to the other side… sat at a table and had a glass of wine and watched the scene unfold. Boats coming and going; guys waiting for excited tourists to hire them for a magical ride in a Gondola… it was such a great afternoon adventure and a vivid memory in my mind!

So, I’m back home in California now (two years later, and after the pandemic, actually) and I’m gazing at the Gondola Guy on the wall of my living room and it still speaks volumes to me:

It’s time to step out and Follow Your Bliss. Figure out what ‘floats your boat’ – then go tell the Guy where you want to go.

Walk that plank, get on the boat and GO!

Why Wait? The magic and discovery of the journey ahead will only unfold IF you take the risk and GO!

-SUZETTE ALLEN

 

 

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