How I View MY Photography
And yeah, that's changed over the years.
There was a time in my life that I didn’t go anywhere without a camera. Whether it was my trusty dslr or on rare occasions my point-n-shoot; it was always with me. I took photos of various subjects, using various techniques, for various reasons, but most always because it caught my eye and made me think. And secondly, because I wanted to keep that memory alive forever.
Over the years, this has changed for me, albeit gradually. I’ve gone from taking my professional sized setup with me everywhere I go, to reserving that setup for the truly important images (ie bucket list images I want to be able to print and/or sell). For my everyday adventures though, I usually just take photos on my phone or more recently, my newly acquired Ricoh GRiii. And at first, using my phone for photography kind of bummed me out, because it felt like I was cheating on photography somehow. I had this notion that if it wasn’t taken on a serious camera (ie a full frame dslr) that it somehow was lesser in the eyes of my peers. Which is absolutely ridiculous, but that’s how the photo community can make you feel at times. Again, ridiculous!
It was that kind of pressure to perform with my photography and to have all the right gear and always be capturing and posting “banger” images that has me somewhat jaded with the whole process. The minute I let myself get caught up in the unnecessary gear game and let photographers I admire get in my head with “their” requirements for good photography, is the minute I let go of my own artistic vision, and became a photographer I no longer recognized or liked. When I started questioning this and really started taking stock of it all, was when I started selling off gear and making changes. Last year I sold my “professional” setup and started trying out other options to see what works best for me. And honestly, I started this search even earlier, back with I sold off all my Nikon gear. Anyway, I’m still searching, but I’m no longer weighed down by others expectations, which helps.
I also stopped thinking I need to always be taking photos. Again, the photo community made me believe that if I was truly passionate about photography, that I would be constantly doing it. That’s not true at all. In fact, I found that by always photographing everything, my passion got watered down. There was no longer a clear reason why I was doing it, so I started wondering if I should be doing it at all. I lost sight of why I was passionate about it, and began to retreat from it altogether.
Now, I’ve gotten to a place where I am ok with not always photographing everything. My husband and I even took our first non-photography related vacation, and it was truly wonderful to just enjoy the beauty around us, without the need to photograph it. Of course we still took photos, but we didn’t get caught up in the act of taking photos. Instead, we just took snaps of things that was saw that interested us. Things that caught our eye and made us think. And that’s how I want it to always be.
So, I’m now in a place where I am ok with my photos, no matter what they were taken on, or how much thought was put into the process. I’m obviously ok with taking banger shots, but equally ok with selfies, and even photos of my food, thank you very much. I no longer subscribe to the snooty opinions and attitudes of the photo community at large, and instead I just go with the flow. And yes, I know not everyone in the photo community is snooty and pretentious, but I also know that most of us see this pattern and never speak out against it, because heaven forbid we do something to anger the higher ups. Am I right? Anyway…
I’m back to viewing my photography as something I love to do, but not something that fully encompasses who I am or how I spend every waking minute of my life. I think I’m starting to strike a healthy balance, and that feels good. I am still in a creative rut, somewhat, but Im slowly getting through and coming out the other side with this fresh perspective. As I’ve stated before, it’s a growth process.
So, tell me, how do you view your photography? Do you find you let yourself get caught up in the opinions of other photographers you admire or did you just diligently forge your own path without wavering? Let me know in the comments below, and until next time… be loving, be kind, be better!
Absolutely agree. Have a reasonable gear in balance with your own pretensions and needs, and stop worrying about it. And let your camera at home from time to time; you learn to see and free your mind. Also, don't dive in any internet current of practitioners; just follow your instinct.
I still love photography but I’m also trying to step away from the banger shot ideals and shoot purely by feeling. They may not be the best shots but for me it’s to remember the feeling when I saw that something. I’m glad you are able to “re-position “ your mindset and can now look at your photography in a more wholistic manner. I still hope you can find “your camera” one day.