Critics – the creative’s succubus.

When someone creates a work of art; he/she puts a part of themselves in that piece of art. Painting, sculpture, written word, even a photograph. That artist is the creator. Their insight, creativity, and passion go into that work. They know that work better than anyone. A writer creates the story world; the characters are an extension of the writer’s soul; a small piece of themselves is each character. A painter’s sweat and blood blend with the paint on the canvas as he creates a vision. A photographer creates an image of what is within him.

Once the work is out there for the world to see, other people who view the work believe that they now have a connection, an insight into the work greater than the individual who created the work. Art historians, art director, editors, casual observers and of course the critics all have opinions on the work. They now have the superior insight into the characters of the story or the subject of the photograph or the composition of the painting.

Why is it that those who can’t create anything original, are so free with their advice and criticisms of the works of those who can paint a picture, write a story or create a photograph?

I once worked with a partner. In many ways a very liberating experience. But though my partner had great enthusiasm and drive, he lacked the artistic eye to create truly artistic works of art. But alas, he failed to see that, believing that he was the artistic force of the work. That pure passion out weights balance, subtle nuances of light and dark. They failed to see the true beauty within the work.

I now create my photographs alone. My vision, my passion, my artwork. Does that stop others from claiming to understand my works better than I do? Of course not! There will always be those who will take a work of a talented creator and attempt to change it into a lesser thing. All in the name of a greater insight into the work of art.

Perhaps that is why death is the truly final canvas upon which our mortality can be displayed. Once we are dead, it doesn’t matter what the critics or audience say. We have escaped their grasp for the loving embrace of death.

I am photographer, Damien Drake. This is my story.

My name is Damien Drake. This is my story. Not the headlines in the newspapers. Not a 30-second spot in a 24-hour news cycle. Not a stylize portrayal of my life in an experimental film. This is how it is, how it was and how it will be.

You’ve seen my artwork. The photographs. The award-winning images of the Iraqi and Afghanistan conflicts. The horrors of war and the beauty of death. We are drawn to death and violence like moths to a flame. To be caressed by the warmth of the light and to be consumed by the fire when we get too close to the secrets within.

They say a picture can tell a thousand words. I have taken thousand of pictures. Sometimes a picture is not enough. A picture doesn’t always tell you the entire story. Pictures can’t tell you the why or the how. An image captures a moment of life or perhaps it is but a moment of death. That moment is forever, never changing, never corrupted by the ravages of time. Always timeless, always beautiful. No matter what the subject, with my camera; I can make it beautiful forever.

In the coming days and weeks, I will attempt to tell you, not how it should have been, not how THEY all wanted it to be; but how it was.