It’s late and if I don’t write this now I know I never will.
There are a lot of people out there trying to convince the world and themselves that they are who they wish they could be and aren’t scared to death by the uncertainty that accompanies every one of their decisions.
These last few weeks I’ve been able to reconnect with the world around me. I’ve made time for friends. Studying subjects that don’t relate to photography in any way, shape, or form to expand my knowledge beyond lighting setups and the latest camera rumors. The world around me is becoming a little clearer and I want to share.
In this moment, I don’t care about showing off my latest work or trying to tell you how to be a good photographer. Truth is, I’m winging it 90% of the time. Yes I have a plan but that doesn’t mean I’m not afraid of massive failure whenever I get behind the camera.
Right here, right now, this is about us. Us as a society. Us as a culture. Us as human beings.
When this whole thing started for me, every blog post, every tweet, every conversation over coffee was woven with the intention of coming across bigger than I was. I wanted my friends, family, and potential clients to envision me as the guy who had it all figured out. I spent so much time trying to craft my ideal self-image that nothing I was writing was an authentic reflection of who I was or where I was inside my head. I convinced myself that this was how the big boys did it. I told people I didn’t have a care in the world and that no matter what others say, it doesn’t phase me. I’m done with that now.
The truth is I’m twenty-six and uncertain more often than not. I’m nervous. I’m a photographer because I sort of fell into it, not because “I always knew I was going to be a photographer” and had a game plan. I constantly stress that the client I just wrapped on wasn’t satisfied enough to hire me again.
We try to cover it up but it’s in every one of us. Our status updates and blog posts tell people that we don’t care what they think but the fear is still there. The kind of fear that makes us take a hundred self-portraits until we find one we’re comfortable enough with to Photoshop to death and post online for our friends to see so they can ‘like’ and comment on how good we look even though they just saw us an hour ago with all our imperfections. And yet we’re still trying to convince people we don’t need their approval. That we’re somehow different but we’re not.
We’re all fighting the realization that we’re not where or who we thought we would be by now and that while we were promised we could achieve anything “if you believe in yourself”, it’s nowhere near that easy.
So where do we go from here? I’m not nearly naive enough to think that more than a handful of people even read these let alone act on them. I can only tell you where I’m going from here. I’m going to work less and create more. I’m going to stop buying gear because I saw another photographer using it only to have it sit in my gear closet with the tags still attached. I’m going to travel. Read a book. Learn to sit in silence. See the sun more. Turn off my phone during dinner with my wife. Give without expectations of a return. Give a lot.