Many of us who launch ourselves into photography not only hear the call of artistry, but find ourselves enchanted by the promise of self improvement. Photography makes us feel better, think better, and most importantly, it gives us the opportunity for self improvement and growth. Not only do we find ourselves striving to be better photographers by watching light, composition and form, but we begin to feel better about ourselves as people.
This is the real power of photography.
Photography has the power to transform not only our images, but our view of the world and the perception we have of ourselves. It’s easy to see how. Just think about the time you took a photo you were proud of. How much better did you feel about yourself? I bet it was quite a significant amount.
I’ve spoken about this before. Why am I bringing this up? I want to delve a little deeper into the psyche of a photographer. So many times I am asked about cameras, lenses and all the other bells and whistles that come with satisfying images. However let me say this: “are you really satisfied with your photography?” Do you get lovely images but still feel, somewhere in your heart, that you are still not meeting the expectations you had of yourself? This is called an artistic blockage. And it’s bad news. I’ll tell you why.
Many of us start photography for the love, the thrill and the exhilaration of creating art. After a little while, we begin to lose the ebb and flow of the artistic pulse. We find ourselves feeling dissatisfied that we can’t get this camera or that lens. Somehow we think that feeling down about our photography is ok, because it’s all in the name of self improvement. While this may be true for some, for others it is a way of coming up against fear. Fear of what? Fear of being an artist.
We are told that being creative can only be a hobby. That art, in its pure expression, must be reserved for the airy fairy, the flaky and the ungrounded of us. And that we can only be seen as an artist if other peoples approval is met. We are told that being artists is ok only if other people like your work.
I have a real aversion to this nonsense. Expression of art through photography is one of the most healing and grounding things you can do for yourself. If you have ever been told that art is for creative people and somehow you are not one of those people, then I am happy to inform you that you have been seriously misinformed. Creativity is for everyone. Expression of creativity is everyone’s right.
Next time you go out shooting, remember this; do it for the pure enjoyment and love of creating something. Don’t worry about what other people think or tell you about your artistic expression. If you love it and it is important to you, then that is all that matters.