Fighting through discouragment…day 17

It is human nature to compare ourselves to others. This isn’t a bad thing per se, but it can make your life more difficult than it needs to be at times.

Looking at the online photo sharing forums for me is inspiring. I marvel at the work of others and want to make photographs of similar quality. But at the same time it can be discouraging to look at a photograph and wonder if you will ever reach that level.

So what do you do in order to get through those feelings?

That will vary per person of course, so I can only speak to what I do.

I take a step back at look at what I am doing, where I haven been and where I am going. I know that sounds trite, but it works for me. When I look at where I was photographically when I picked up my first dslr a year and half ago I am much better. As part of that I also know that I have a long way to go to get where I want to be. Where do I want to be? I’m not exactly sure yet. I would like to sell some of my work that is for sure. Writing about photography has also become a big part of who I am, as well as teaching others the little bit that I know.

Another thing that I do is really think about what was it that got me discouraged? Was it that I can’t create an image that well? That just takes practice which I know that I must do. Was it that they received recognition and I didn’t? That is pretty selfish of me. They created a beautiful image and they deserve to recognized for it. It isn’t their fault that mine wasn’t noticed so don’t take away from their accolades. Is it because my pictures aren’t getting noticed? Figure out why they aren’t and fix it. I need to put myself out there even more than I have. While I have been doing that more and more I need to take it to another level I think. I need feedback on my pictures, on my skills to get where I want to go.

Will I still get discourage? I know I will. Will I still have a bit of envy for those that can get gear they want and attend workshops to learn from masters of the craft? Yes I will, but that is my issue, not theirs.

My gear doesn’t matter, my workshop credentials don’t matter, the number of comments I have on a picture don’t matter.

What matters is that I have a love, a passion for photography. And nothing will stop me from doing it, even myself.

What do you do when you get discouraged about your photography or life in general?

Most of all, I imagine.

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6 thoughts on “Fighting through discouragment…day 17

  1. this is a great post..and funnily enough I was feeling the same this week… Comparison is part of human nature and sometimes it can help us become better and learn more, other times we let it defeat us. I’m sure some of the greatest photographers we know today also have people that don’t appreciate their work…and their a probably a lot of photographs they critique of their own. I remember Richard Avedon, who I greatly admire, comment on one of his famous photographs of a model with elephants saying that it is one of his biggest failures as he wished he would have let the dress drape in a different way. And it honestly isn’t the camera or an expensive lens that takes the photo…its the photographer….Keep at it, really enjoy your work!

  2. You’re right that the passion should drive you and not other people. Find your photographic niche and own it.. listen to other people but decide what is imp to you.

    I started out in photography just loving the fact I could record my life- my photos weren’t good back then, but it was greatly satisfying to turn the film spool, look through the lens and just click. I still try to remember that joy I had in school when I was given a Nikon FM2 & a roll of film to play around with.

    A professional photographer I knew took such gorgeous pictures of people and was always brilliant technically, yet he felt upset that his photos could never beat those edgy, stylistic, smart photos that win advertising awards in magazines. This is despite we all knew his strength was in photographing people. Non-edgy stuff does not win you awards, but he did not need those awards for us to know he was a wonderful portrait photographer. But If you want to be recognised by your awards then you have to stand out visually.. pretty much.

    I believe there are some photography critique groups on flickr if you intend to get feedback someday… 🙂

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