TRACY BARBOUR

Blog

The blog of Tracy Barbour, a New York City Street Photographer and Photojournalist

Survival, Shame, and Creativity

I want you to watch this TED talk by Brene' Brown. It was passed onto me by a friend after talking through my current path of survival before creativity. 

I'm going to tell you something I'm afraid to admit.  I am barely surviving.  Over the past couple months I have placed survival before creativity, before anything else. Survival has been my only speed and I can't seem to slow down and pull myself out of this race. 

A young man sits on the subway in New York City, showing frustration and anger in his face.

This path of survival over creativity is a path of failure. The path of failure results in shame.

Shame blocks vulnerability. Vulnerability has been the foundation of my work as a photographer and artist. I expect everyone who steps in front of my camera whether it be voluntary or on the street as a stranger, to open themselves to me. I make eye contact, I connect, and a vulnerability is born. It is obvious in my imagery. 

A man sits inside his shop in Downtown Brooklyn, NYC.

I had a follower send me a message about how they were inspired by my hustle. Thank you, but I don't want you to be inspired by my hustle. Hustle means nothing when the only thing you are doing is hustling. Be inspired by my ability to admit my failure, work through this shame. Because I know you have your own to work through. 

A homeless man searches through is belongings on a subway in New York City.

I want you to be connected to the vulnerability. I want you to understand that hundreds of people pass these streets, that every moment spent here is fleeting, that nothing will every be the same from minute to minute. 

We have a lot of work to do, you and I.

Let's go.