I have to think that all photographers suffer some form of esteem issue. Some kind of self doubt, the pounding question “am I good enough?”
Gawd knows that this is definitely the case in my mind.In todays photo climate where Dslrs are cheaply available it seems that every third person is a photographer, we all know that is truly not the case but still we look and compare our work to theirs, and hopefully we can reaffirm our own talent and skill through these comparisons. Often times we discover that we are in fact grossly inferior to what seems like an infinite number of shooters. But sometimes we see that no, in fact I am good , I can deliver the goods consistently and to a standard that rises above the crowd.
It’s the same old adage , practice makes perfect, you need to have the work to get better at the skill, and that can be the difference you see between yourself and other photographers.Perhaps they have a standby make-up artist or access to a full studio and professional models at their beck and call, and how do you measure up when your shooting someone responding to a free headshot posting from craigslist?
Well quite simply maybe you don’t, but that doesn’t mean you can’t deliver well thought out frames, perfectly exposed, wonderfully composed featuring a subject that is reacting to the photographer in a compelling and interesting way. We work within our means and we cant always be comparing ourselves to the big dogs. I feel that by always trying to live up to the David Lachapelles , Joe Mcnally’s and Jeremy Cowarts of the world we do ourselves a disservice and need to look close to home in order to give a more valid assessment of our skills. Those guys are magnificent and by studying their effort we can begin to grow and attempt to also deliver images of that caliber.
Be honest with yourself, don’t settle for mediocre images if you know that with more effort you can make it better.The first frame is hardly ever the best one.
What is spurring this post is a recent critique I watched on Zach Arias‘ site. Now Zach gathers together, his wife, and on this particular critique a few other photographers, and together they peruse several portfolio sites of photographers that want some input on their work.
I admire these people, because to submit their work to the scrutiny of Zach and his band of merry Newcastle drinkers is brave indeed. He is brutally honest, something we all need in order to properly move forward in our career. I have watched all his critiques and find I agree with most of his assessments. On occasion he can be crushing, and probably the site in question necessitates such grades but all the same it makes me empathetic with the submitted photographer and begin to doubt my own work as well.
I have yet to submit my site for critique, but with each one I watch I re-examine my own work and try to honestly assess what it is I am looking at, and if it’s not something I would want critiqued I remove it, and make a mental note to reapproach the subject with higher expectations
Im not sure if we as artists will ever truly be satisfied with our own work, but we do need to be honest with ourselves, and in our efforts to improve perhaps we can develop a thicker skin in the face of comparison and in the eyes of our own worst critic, ourselves.
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