Recently I took a break from photography. Part of it was because I wasn’t improving as much as I would like. On hindsight, it’s no wonder. It’s really very simple. I reap what I sow. I can’t put in 50% and expect more. When I put in less and less, predictably I get less and less.
The thing is I started to make myself wrong, make my photos wrong. I say things like ‘what’s the point? I’m just not cut out to be a photographer.’ ‘My photos are boring.’ ‘Nobody likes my photos.’
Completely disempowering conversations I have with myself. I say that enough to myself I begin to believe I am lousy at photography. So I wallow and eventually I stopped taking actions.
It’s the context stupid. For weeks my context was ‘no matter what I do, I’d not be as good as I would like’. Guess what? That’s exactly what happens – I see evidence everywhere that I am not as good as I would like. It’s a downward spiral, naturally.
The context is decisive. It decides what I see, hear, think and in turn, determines the actions I take. In this case, I put my camera in my camera bag and left it there. When I do take it out, I do so half-heartedly.
I realised that my relationship with photography is like the one I have with dance. I will never be good enough to be a professional dancer but I LOVE dancing. It’s a self expression. It is a space where I can lose myself in, a place where I can be anyone I want to be. A space where I bravely push through all the physical and mental constraints of this body.
With photography I fell into the trap of comparing myself with others. I now realise it is like dancing – it is a personal journey and it is my journey. The journey is what I make it out to be.
I love the advice a professional photography gave me recently:
Photography should starts from your heart. If you put in effort, your audience will also see your effort. If you wish to touch your audience with your images, then you must first be touched by what you saw and captured. It takes time and heart to capture the essence of lives.
I’m taking photographs again. My view of photography and me has shifted; it is no longer a silent race to be better than imaginery standards; it is just me. How I relate to ths world and everything in it. Just like dancing. I can really dance with photography.