Creative Life Purpose
‘To inspire others
to regard the natural world
as essential to spiritual,
mental and physical wellbeing.’
Steve’s Creative Life Purpose – Created in July 1984
I have always regarded the discovery of my creative voice and creative life purpose by which I live in all areas of my life as interconnected, yet fundamentally different.
For many people who take part in my Masterclasses, and many others I have connected with over the decades, finding and embracing a creative voice is not so much the challenge – after all there are many expressive mediums to choose from – no, the real challenge is having a lasting purpose behind one’s creative voice; it is all about the ‘why’ not the ‘what’.
Many people who turn to a creative expression like photography – in fact, many of the arts – soon find they lose interest because their creative pathway lacks purpose. It is this ‘quest for purpose’ that lies at the heart of all my teaching and all of the posts in all of the four blog categories on this website. Like my Masterclass which is made up of six modules, each stands alone yet each is interconnected. Leave one out and the driving forces behind the purpose can be less effective.
I also like the term ‘a reason for being’, a driving force that takes you through the good time and the bad times; as an aside I see the lack of life purpose as one of the least discussed social failures especially in early childhood learning. It is this ‘lacking’ that is so important in our lives that drives the mental pain experienced by so many of us. A pain that triggers alcoholism, drug use and domestic violence and lies at the heart of the anxiety and depression that is so visible across the globe especially visible in this, the digital age.
As a child, and as a young man, my passion for photography was driven primarily to gain family and later community acceptance; in those early days it was primarily from a burgeoning SCUBA diving community. I craved recognition, and as a young underwater photographer, I would go to any length to dive deeper and make pictures that no predecessor had done. Hidden from view what lay at the core was simply a desire to be liked for who I was, unconditionally.
The approach that Steve has applied throughout his long career as a publisher
has now become a popular online masterclass.
What is a Creative Life Purpose (CLP)?
What is a Creative Life Purpose (CLP)?
Being creative implies using one’s imagination or original ideas to create something: the ‘something’ may be an innovative viewpoint while making an image, or it could be the development of a signiﬁcant community project that positively affects the lives of millions — two extremes of a possible CLP.
There is no age restriction on creativity or purpose. A child may draw God – which may have many confused interpretations in our world – however, the child may see as clear as crystal their god as an image in their mind’s-eye.
Then, that wonderful word, purpose – a reason for being. Purpose can be used as the battering ram in our personal and professional lives because people with creative life goals will more likely succeed because they know where they are going. I have emphasised the value of purpose throughout this Masterclass, especially in Module 2 ‘Projects with Purpose.’ Without deﬁnable reasons for making images the interest soon fades. I see our projects as being the fuel that holds our CLP’s intact.
Why emphasise Creative Life Purpose (CLP)?
My Masterclass is designed to service a need to grow creative skills and for those of you who want to explore then develop alternate pathways; perhaps professionally in some form. There will be those of you wishing to integrate the areas we cover into existing careers, or become inspired to start anew. To successfully negotiate a pathway free of road-blocks is no mean feat, particularly when our resistance is so cunning, coming at us from many directions, both internally (inside our heads) and externally (online and offline from family, friends, workmates and even the broader community. When I sat down to create this Masterclass I first thought deeply of the challenges of both my own life-time-career and the challenges of the hundreds of creatives I have either employed and or collaborated with over a forty-year professional career. It began by deliberating on the fragile balancing act between passion and resistance. I then realised that without my commitment to my long-held CLP I would never have survived professionally.
How I determined my
Creative Life Purpose
‘Cherish your creative life purpose as though it was your child.
It can bless you daily in the most unexpected ways.’
Since July 1984, my Creative Life Purpose statement has been ‘To inspire others to regard the natural world as essential to spiritual, mental and physical wellbeing.’ I cannot even begin to tell you how important having these words have become as an anchor, a signpost in every area of my life; in the darest of times even a battering ram to push through considerable situations of adversity.
I was in Broome, Western Australia, about to head bush into the Kimberley, when I received notice that my publisher, who had me on a five-book contract, had gone bankrupt. I was alone and was almost broke myself. I recall sitting on top of a rocky outcrop, gazing out across the grassy boab tree woodland. I was overwhelmed with emotion especially having just seen my first Kimberly country rock art in an isolated cave. All this country, all this feeling, yet at that time in the winter of 1984 there was hardly a soul to see it. While I sat alone a big wallaroo bounded up and stood staring at me. After we exchanged a few moments I recall looking out across the boab and eucalypt woodlands to the south. The golden hour was in full swing and I felt this powerful sense of connection. It was in that moment that I decided to develop my own publishing company: Steve Parish Publishing. How? I had no idea! Isn’t naivety grand! And so, armed with just a few dollars, a heart full of passion, that night in my camp I penned my Creative Life Purpose. The next morning I stepped out on my journey to build a massive photo library that would go on to become the basis for a fledgeling publishing company.
Throughout my teaching work I explain how you don’t have to have all the answers when you set out in pursuit of a dream. However having a Creative Life Purpose as an initial goal to light the way can be very helpful. You will return to it again and again, referring to it at every fork in the road and whenever crucial decisions are required. Today, thirty five years later it remains unchanged.