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November 27, 2016  •  5 Comments

Three months ago, my friend and mentor, Emeritus Professor Des Crawley, delivered a presentation titled "My story and My Style—The relationship between photographic style and ways of seeing" to members of Port Macquarie Panthers Photographic Club.

As usual, Des's presentation was enlightening and inspiring.

"The true photographer does not compromise when it comes to honing and shaping their personal style. Why? Because it will be your visual legacy."

"Tonight...[after this presentation] are to sit down and to write, for yourself...why you make photographs. Why do you do it?...<a long Des pause>...That's why I do it...[a slide of of text appears on the screen]. I've written it. It's important to me. That is my manifesto...This is what I do. I will defend this......because it's what I value...You owe it to yourself. Sit down and you say 'I make photographs because...'"

I have been tardy with my homework. It's now three months past the deadline—three months since Des exhorted his audience to do this thing...for themselves. But I have done it now. Today is my 61st birthday and my gift to myself is to publish my own manifesto, a declaration of the things that drive my passion for photography. My mission statement.

It's not a marketing exercise...some puffed up document to impress others or sell something. It's a document that is me talking to myself; me urging myself to stay the course; a document to read again and again when the going gets tough or I experience self doubt. 

If my ideas change over time, I will modify my manifesto. It's a living document to keep me on song for the rest of my productive life.

I share it with you for what it's worth. If you have a creative passion, perhaps it will inspire you to give yourself a written pep talk.

An artist manifestoA document to keep me focused.

I speak only of myself since I do not wish to convince, I have no right to drag others into my river, I oblige no one to follow me and everybody practices his art in his own way — Tristan Tzara "Dada Manifesto 1918”
The only art I'll ever study is stuff that I can steal from — David Bowie 1947-2016
What is originality? Undetected plagiarism — William Ralph Inge 1860-1954


Thanks for your comments everyone. Gayle, Robyn, Tom (private message), Denise, and Des.

Gayle, I look forward to reading your manifesto if you care to share it publicly or privately.

Des, I have done all I can. Ruby and I can accommodate you should you choose to revisit and admonish the laggards in person. Roses? Not from our garden. We're blessed with black more time for other pursuits. ®
des crawley(non-registered)
Better late than never!
There were over 30 folk at that workshop. This is the first manifesto I have seen. It is a great statement of and about your photographic future. One day I shall return to the Club to collect the homework. It best be in the form of creative and expressive images of an imagined vision. But, I will be happy with roses from the garden. Well done, Rob. Many folk in Port look to your leadership and this manifesto sets a cracking pace for them.
Denise McDermott(non-registered)
Re Robyn's comment: I am one of the many. Your manifesto is an inspiration to get out and photograph and fulfill the creative need. Thank you.
Robyn Mussett(non-registered)
Thank you for sharing this Rob. So often I have heard you speak many of the words written here and they resonate with me as I work on my photography. Your passion for your own work, encouragement to others as well as your honesty is so much appreciated by, not just me, but many. Happy 61st.
Always an inspiration! Have been a fan of your vision since meeting you. This is very artsy Rob, even if it took three months to complete. It is a wonderful mission, and i agree with Des it is something we owe ourselves.I will be creating my own mission statement in the near future~
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