Recently shot on Kodak Professional 400 BW Film using a Holga toycam.
What I realize as I continue on, is that photographers tend to cling to what they think they should do, based on “industry standards” — what they see, how to “properly compose” an image or “get the light right”. I started off selling photoshop actions that represented what I taught myself, then. I designed a ton of stuff and absorbed as much of what was going on in the industry that I possibly could. What I realize now is, I was flooding myself with the wrong things. The internet and the opinions of the mainstream make it very difficult for a photographer to truly come into his/her own vision. But there are no rules. I’ve had to completely strip myself down to the place I was when I started out so I could begin again, only with a fresh mentality and a clean slate — that was NOT easy. Even some of my recent work isn’t entirely what I (now) know I should be doing. But I’m here at this new beginning, right now, and that’s what’s important. Listening to a lot of inspirational speakers and taking in a lot of new knowledge, inside and outside of ‘the industry’ has helped me to arrive at a question: what kind of a photographer am I? Not the first time I’ve asked myself this. Any photographers reading, I’m sure you’ve stopped and asked yourselves as well….
KNOW WHAT YOU SHOULD BE DOING
I have an answer. It takes some people years to find a true voice, while some start off right away working in their true voice. Some drift and try new things. Ultimately….. it’s inside of you, whatever it is that you do — not just photography. You don’t have to listen when someone says “this is what you should do,” ” this is how it’s done” “this is how we do it in the industry” “it needs to look this way or that” “the light should be here” – NO.
No, no, no!
It is only right when it feels right for you. You can find that place and exist only there, separate from the others. It doesn’t mean you aren’t connected or can’t learn from them, but you have to listen to you. And when you’re truly doing that, others have something to gain from you in return. When you figure it out, go do it. Don’t think about how you’ll do it…. don’t think about what others will say… and especially do not think about what someone else is doing that you aren’t doing. You’ll get to the place you need to be when you take your abilities and use them. All you have to do is recognize your strengths. It’s easy to get lost in what everyone else is doing. Love what they’re doing, but nurture what you’re supposed to do. Let it guide you.