Daily Archives July 1, 2020

Finding Your Superpowers & Inner Voice

First, thanks to Scott for having me back on his blog and thanks to Brad Moore for putting this all together. Love you guys!

This post is a condensed version of the chapter Finding Your Superpowers and Inner Voice in my latest book, Photo Quest – Discovering Your Photographic and Artist Voice. A book, by the way, that does not include a single photograph – only words of motivation and inspiration. Some by me and some by the team of awesome All-Star Photo Mentors I put together for this project. You’ll recognize a few of these names from Photoshop World and KelbyOne.

Enjoy, and please post your super power in the comments here.


“Batman doesn’t have any superpowers. He has to use his brain and his courage. That’s what always appealed to me.”

Patrick Leahy

Like Batman, you have a superpower (or superpowers), but you may not know what it is at this moment. That’s how I felt when I first started reading about superpowers.

I will share with you what I feel are my superpowers at the end of this chapter, but for now, let’s first explore superpowers, and then how they relate to you and your photography and art—and to finding your inner voice.

What piqued my interest in the topic of superpowers, which probably goes back to the time of Plato and Socrates (and maybe before that, although likely known by a different description), was a conversation I had with my son Marco.

Knowing more than a few successful and talented people, I was saying to Marco that people who are good at one thing are usually good at many things. Marco began talking about why people are successful and mentioned superpowers, a new term for me at the time. I was fascinated and started surfing the web for information on superpowers.

My search brought me to an article by Konstantin Mitgutsch on Medium.com. As Mr. Mitgutsch says in his article: “We have numerous hidden ‘Superpowers’ that are not just very human and personal, but really define who we are and could be on the deepest level. However, for a variety reasons, we’ve never understood this, let alone discovered these strengths and learned how to exploit them.”

On Forbes.com, Dede Henley argues that a superpower, “Isn’t a skill but a perspective, a mindset, a way of working that enhances everything you touch.”

To find our superpower, which defines our creative voice (among other things), we have to ask ourselves a few questions, taking photography out of the equation. The questions to ask are: What am I good at? What am I the best at? Why am I good at it? How did I get good at it? What do others think I am good at? Was I always good at it?

If all this talk about superpowers sounds far out (as we used to say in the 1960s), consider the following. After seeing a movie, you might say something like, “So and so is the best actor I’ve ever seen.” Sure, the actor may be a terrific actor, but he or she drew on their superpower to excel in their craft. That may be the power to influence others through their facial expression, the tone in their voice, and their ability to convey strong emotions and feelings that they drew on from their past for their performance in the film.

Another example is the guitar work of Carlos Santana. Sure, he’s a master guitar player, but his playing perhaps comes from his superpower, one of being very spiritual and mystical. You can read about his superpower on wsj.com in the article “The Mystical Journey of Carlos Santana.” In effect, Santana is playing the same notes as a million other guitar players. But his superpower makes him unique and gives him his creative voice.

Relating this concept to photography, Ansel Adams, for example, used the same aperture and shutter speed as other photographers, but he was unique because he drew on his superpower or superpowers, which may have been an affinity for getting in touch with nature, and his ability to see contrast and envision the end result, using what he called “creative visualization.”

In my quest to learn more about superpowers and our inner voice, I asked some of my well-known photographer friends about theirs. Take a look. Yes, these mentors are wonderful photographers, but their advice can be applied to many art forms.

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