Sometimes I get sick and end up in a dark tunnel with no light and it takes a while to find my way out. Sometimes there are reasons [self-doubt, confidence – the usual shit that paralyses] but must often there are none or at least none that I can clearly identify and its damn annoying. But i’ve been making a conscious effort to change this by repeating various mantras and rituals of the body and mind – its working: Half full or Half empty?I recently read some tips for boosting your self-esteem as a photographer which would work for anything in life so here are few with my edited headings and thoughts
1] Death bed regrets : Not having the courage to live how you want to live, to do what you want
You gotta have the courage to make images true to yourself. It’s a sobering realisation on your death bed that you did things that were expected of you, not the things you wanted to do. I think the lesson here is to die empty, to make all the photographs that you wanted to do the way you wanted to do them, because let’s face it, no one else can do them.
2] Love your images – love yourself
So why do you care when people do not like your photography the way you do? To put it simply, love what you do, you give it value.
3] People got things to do for themselves – don’t worry about it!
So if you are not receiving the feedback you expected, it’s pretty much to be expected. People are mostly self absorbed nowadays.
4] Do you always like other peoples work, photos, writing, paintings, beliefs – the list goes on? No, so not everyone is on your page, so what!
I’ll be as bold as to say that it is impossible for everyone to like your work! It’s better to focus on shooting like you want to, attracting whose who like your work, repelling those who don’t.
5] People pleasing! You please yourself or you please others? Make your choice
The biggest issue in putting your self esteem in others is that you are at their mercy. It’s a never ending cycle because it’s impossible to please everyone, so make sure you please the most important person, namely, you.
6] How good you are depends on how popular and how popular you are doesn’t always depend on your work or what you publish
What does this mean for you? There’s math involved in being perceived as good. So you can give up on living off likes and favorites, as they are proportional to your popularity.
7] Always Grow, Always push those boundaries in other words keep on clicking, writing, creating. Most photographers work with digital so you can take 100 shots of the same scene, person what the heck one of them has to be THE one. I take so many crap photos but wow when I get it right its a rush, I forget all the rest.
To grow, always be your most compassionate yet worse self critic. You did great, but you can do even better next time. If you have that drive to outdo yourself in every turn, you have the seeds of greatness because you are growing your own way at your own pace. That’s what Pole Vaulters do, they put the bar ever so higher every time they reach their goal. They grow slowly but surely, looking only where they are and trying to outdo the previous jump.
8] Intent – this is the most important for photography and for life. What is your intent? State it to yourself and if others are involved be truthful, be transparent. Intent allows us to make the connection that frees up the spirit and create what we want whether its an image, a desire, or an act of love. When it comes to people my intent is to show their humanity and their beauty and sometimes irony.
Your intent should be yours and yours only. When you are out shooting, sometimes buzzers get in your mind….. “You would get a more popular image if you shot it that way” kind of buzzers and they need to get out. I remember I was shooting some stuff for a client and apparently there was one of the world’s top Psychic present or something. She revealed to me that she saw that every time I put the camera up to my eye, there was a flash of light going from my heart to the camera.
Whether you believe this stuff or not is not is besides the point, she accurately described the unencumbered photographer. To reach the state of flow when making images, you have to free your mind of all the crap, criticism, the wants of likes and all and put them in the garbage. When creating your images, there should only be you and your images, no distractions between you and the image.