Look Inward

2015-5-26 Storm Cloud 1a

Storm Cloud, 2015


I have been accused of being arrogant for suggesting that the source of my Vision lies within myself and is not dependent upon the outside world or those who have gone before me.

I don’t believe this to be an arrogant idea. But here are some additional thoughts that may convince the unconvinced that I am in fact, arrogant.


Look inward.

Everything you need is already there.

Discover your Vision.

See for yourself.


We are all creative as children.

But then we learn how to seek approval.

And something atrophies and almost dies.

We forget how to please ourselves.


There is a difference between Vision and Inspiration.

Inspiration comes from without, Vision comes from within.

A person can only do so much with Inspiration.

Inspiration without Vision is an unproductive effort.


Look inward.

Ignore what others are doing.

Do what you feel inspired to do.

Create work that you love.


Art is very selfish.

Or at least it should be.

If you are creating for others,

then you are not creating your best work.


Do not compare your work to other’s.

Judge your art only by how you feel about it.

Create art that you are proud of.

Create art that you love.


Look inward.

You harbor that secret ingredient.

The secret to success.

Your Vision.



22 Responses to “Look Inward”

  • Roger Says:

    Vision compared to inspiration – I had not separated them as distinctly as you have, i.e., internal vs. external. A very good way to aid my understanding. Originality (a related concept to vision and inspiration) – there is a Ted talk on this subject wherein the presenter makes the case that there is no such thing as original thought, that we have been effected, perhaps even directed, subconsciously, by everything we have been in contact with. Perhaps there is a connection between inspiration and vision? (Sorry, I could not find the Ted talk to provide a link – well keep looking).

  • london schertzer Says:

    Hi Cole, that was so spot on. Thank you so much. I always love your thoughts on photography.

  • london schertzer Says:

    Perfect timing. Thanks for the excellent thoughts.

  • Nick green Says:

    Strong and inspirational words
    I’m sure your right cole
    Kind regards nick

  • PRB Says:

    Beautiful… And, exactly what i am contending/struggling with right now.

  • Merilee Says:

    Seriously? There are people who have told you that you’re arrogant because you follow your own vision and don’t look at what came before or what everyone else is doing!?! How very short sighted of them. That isn’t arrogance. It’s called being true to yourself and trusting your own instincts. As you know, I also don’t really look at what anyone else has done, is doing or will do. That’s their business, not mine. I do what pleases me. And I’m doing a damn good job of it, too 🙂

    Keep up your work, Cole. You’re the only one I pay any attention to, anyway…

  • Claurissa Says:

    Your arrogance is much appreciated! 🙂

  • Barbara Martin Says:

    So true your remarks, my photography is for me its a passion, if others like it its a bonus.

  • Rick Hanger Says:

    Hi Cole.
    Greetings from Akron.
    Your words should be much more palpable to the masses. Heh, heh.
    I think Storm Cloud 2015 is a wonderfully composed and rendered photograph.
    Thanks for sharing.
    Take care.

  • barry Says:

    After looking at the wonderful “Storm Cloud, 2015”, I am glad you are looking upward, as well as inward.

  • Gary Larsen Says:

    Hi Cole… There is not much to add to what’s been already said above. I think a little “arrogance” is a healthy necessity for having the self-confidence to even share one’s art. The key is probably being humble enough to admit you rely on it for fresh inspiration to explore your vision. Your thoughts are very well presented!

  • Jim Says:

    Photographer, poet and philosopher. A lot to be proud of. I think a book is in order.

  • Peter Zurla Says:

    VERY well said.

  • John Menneer Says:

    Great words Cole. I work slightly differently in that I do read and study the work of certain past photographers. I just love looking at their work and hearing their stories – I find it greatly inspiring reading about those that have gone before me. Like yourself, I see a distinction between inspiration and vision. Sometimes inspiration sows the seeds for vision, but, for me, never in a way that sets out to duplicate – the vision comes from your heart within. Perhaps, this is how artists build on the work that has gone before them. Many Thanks, John

  • Mari Jansson Says:

    AMEN! That’s excellent, and exactly as it should be.

  • Cliff Ammons Says:

    Many thanks Cole for these encouraging words! I admire your work immensely.

  • Diane Varner Says:

    Wisest insight and advice I’ve read in a long while…!

  • Steve L Says:

    Shout this from the mountain tops!!
    Necessary message.

  • Don Grant Says:

    “Arrogant”! No your not arrogant you are simply honest. And when someone mistakes honesty for arrogance is when someone needs to do more than a little self-reflecting. The way I see it is, looking elsewhere for vision is weak and leaning toward being spineless. It is saying “I don’t have what it takes within me so I will look elsewhere.” Thanks for being strong and honest.

    Don Grant

  • Eric Manten Says:

    Strong words and so much true! The challenge is not only discovering your vision, it’s also following it.

  • Hank Webber Says:

    I, then, must be more arrogant then thee
    For I create images that suit only me
    My vision is to creat proficiently
    For the world to view most excellently
    Your friend – Hank
    PS: Storm Cloud’s a great image!

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