Get naked or get a puppy with Sean Tucker in Hamburg!

hamburg julia pouly photography sean tucker May 23, 2023

You may have come across the captivating YouTube videos by Sean Tucker, known for their calm and contemplative nature. Unlike typical gear reviews and "how-to" tutorials, his videos delve into philosophical explorations such as the healing power of self-portraits, the courage to be disliked and finding the courage to sell your work. Sean also features other photographers and their remarkable portfolios. Personally, I was particularly drawn to Street Photographer Dawn Eagleton, who shared her experiences of capturing portraits of strangers and her approach to ensuring a pleasant experience for all involved.

Sean Tucker, a photographer, filmmaker, and now author, originally hails from South Africa but has been based in the UK for several years. His book, "The Meaning In The Making," offers a thought-provoking exploration of the underlying motivations behind human creativity. Through captivating personal anecdotes, philosophical insights, and practical advice, I thoroughly enjoyed immersing myself in his book. I was delighted to discover that Sean Tucker would be visiting Hamburg, my hometown, as his book had recently been translated into German.

On a warm and sunny afternoon in May, I met up with my muse, Sarah Mohr, in Hamburg's inner city at Galerie Intreal. The Street Collective Hamburg was hosting a street photography exhibition titled "Between Worlds," featuring Sean Tucker as a guest speaker. The gallery was packed, but even from my vantage point, partially obscured by the wooden paneling, I could hear every word spoken by Sean.

In a previous life, Sean Tucker was a pastor. However, due to his critical nature, he was advised to leave the church, ultimately honing his skills as an exceptional public speaker and overcoming his deep-seated fear of presenting to groups. This transformation shines through, making it a true pleasure to witness him speak. According to Sean, creating art is humanity's attempt to bring order to the chaotic world. He extends this perspective not only to photographers but to artists and creators of all kinds, including dancers, writers, painters, and chefs. Sean spoke about the ultimate goal of creative endeavours, which is to infuse our work with profound meaning, capturing a collective understanding and providing solace and connection.

"The Meaning In The Making" comprises fourteen chapters, each exploring a different facet of the creative journey. Tucker delves into topics such as finding inspiration, cultivating an authentic voice, dealing with the challenges of ego and envy, receiving feedback and critique, and the significance of embracing emotions and acknowledging our inner struggles.

The book's introspective, poetic, and thought-provoking nature seamlessly blends personal anecdotes with profound philosophical insights. As you read, you'll find yourself reaching for a marker to underline the plethora of ideas and reflections Sean presents. The book gently guides you to introspect and contemplate your own creative journey and motivations. Alongside abstract concepts, the book strikes a balance by providing practical advice on maintaining inspiration and navigating the realm of social media and responses to your work.

Many ideas from Sean's presentation resonated with me, especially since I had recently finished reading "The Meaning In The Making." The presentation served as a helpful refresher, reinforcing the importance of inspiration as an essential "in-breath" to communicate through our work and set the tone. Sean emphasizes that our work should be a reflection of who we are, and it's worth investing time in discovering the truths we want to convey. He also shares vibrant anecdotes from his personal life, highlighting how sincere compliments can serve as the antidote to envy.

After the talk concluded, a discussion arose regarding the pros and cons of social media. It is undeniably incredible that artists now have the opportunity to instantly showcase their work to individuals on the other side of the globe. However, we are all aware of the pitfalls. The pressure to consistently post content, the fluctuating numbers of followers and likes, and the impact on our self-esteem when comparing ourselves to others' extraordinary work. Sean Tucker's message is crystal clear: embrace your own unique path. Avoid comparing yourself to others too closely and instead focus on your own individual journey. You can control the time and effort you invest in your work and personal growth, but you cannot control people's reactions once your work is out in the world. And what do the numbers on Instagram truly reveal? There are immensely talented creators with a modest following, while others with mediocre skills boast a vast audience. If you're solely seeking numbers, you might as well get a puppy or resort to nudity; those are the proven recipes for online success. However, will it truly be fulfilling? Isn't it more meaningful to touch the life of even a single person who finds comfort, joy, or meaning in your work?

Beautiful review & imagery by our fav Julia Pouly!