The moment I knew I was ready to charge for my photography and knew I was a good photographer, was when I stopped chasing the carrot of perfection.
Anything that we learn, there is a degree of technical skills that needs to be mastered in order to truly develop the creative process. In the beginning, there is so much work and at times one wonders what the hell they are doing, but with practice and time, something is learnt. I went through this very thing when I was learning to write.
With photography I just didn’t know what I didn’t know and still at times asked myself, “what the hell am I doing”. I believe those thoughts are universal and will always be there.
However, the biggest obstacle in figuring out photography was the constant chatter from the photography community shouting in your ear that you weren’t ready. You had to buy this type of lenses, you had to take this online course and that in person studio class and read this book from this particular master of photography multiple times in a year. You were never good enough and you believed it all. Because, quite frankly, you did suck and did need to get better. You had to master plenty of things in order for you to get to where the gear wasn’t even a thought, it was just a paintbrush you used in order to develop the concept in your mind.
I realized that I was ready to be who I wanted in the photography world by stop listening to the world that taught me so much. I stopped reading, I stopped watching classes on my iPhone. I did the most scary thing that anyone could ever do and looked at myself in the mirror and told myself I was good. Not great, but good. I stopped listening to the photography community about them telling me to buy this camera and do an “art” that was totally self-expression a certain way. I stopped making my choices of approach to photography from “what would the masters do” and just did what was in my brain. That shit was scary.
I second guessed myself, but I thought the only way I could do was live up to myself and that I had to take a stand for what it is that I truly wanted my art to be.
It’s interesting to think that I started to get creative when I stopped listening to the exterior noises and trusted myself. And also, that I will never be great at this craft. I think that was the hardest blow to my ego. Because, this has been the thing that has allowed me to truly live a passionate life. As I have said many times, my “career” isn’t something I get enjoyment from and this thing, photography, has created so much fun for me. But, still, once I realized that I will never bite that damn carrot of perfection I started to live.
I have also realized that if a person’s sole purpose in doing a craft, an art or a career is to master it, that person will be greatly disappointed. What it does is make you not progress because you are seeking out perfection every step of the way. You are either reading this book, or asking this person what is perfection and if you are close to it. You will rack your brain against your head and think that because you didn’t follow this step that your art is a piece of shit. I don’t think that is a life worth living. I don’t think that that type of way of approaching anything that we do is a healthy and honest way of living. I would simply think about this notion, what if one did get the acclaimed title of being a true master of a craft? Would you push yourself anymore? Would you feel that the craft itself is fun anymore because you have mastered it? Would it be better to do something else because the very craft that you mastered isn’t fun anymore?
So, that is where I’m at. That is the way I feel and see things. I feel alive and the noise of others and of things are on an eternal mute. Whenever I think of something I want to do, I just do it. I figure out that I can be more creative and be able to learn from myself. It’s an awesome feeling and that is something I hope you take away from this chatter. Being good enough isn’t a bad thing, being good enough allows us to be who we are in the art world or any world that we want to get on stage to play. It’s when you are subconsciously, without much know how that you are competing with yourself.