Be selfish…as an artist (there was a time not long ago when I would have dismissed the notion of calling myself an artist. I got over it, though, mainly because it’s true).
Be selfish. Photograph only those things with which you have a strong, personal interest. No, interest is too weak of a word. Photograph those things that inspire and move you emotionally. What are your passions in life? Let those passions be your guide and follow them with the greatest intensity possible. If you’re not passionate about a subject or scene, why bother? If you are ambivalent or bored, how can you expect your audience to be anything but ambivalent too? The only way to inspire others is to be inspired yourself. Just be selfish. Follow and photograph only those things that are meaningful to you.
Be selfish. Don’t worry about what other people think about your work. Photography, as in all forms of artistic expression, should say more about the photographer than it does about the subject or scene. So what you say about yourself, through your photography, should be real and genuine, not what others want or expect from you. Raw, visceral expression of one’s self should never be influenced by peer pressure or a focus group mentality. Never take the criticism or the complements too seriously.
The scene may have been photographed hundreds, maybe thousands of times previously but how it makes you feel is uniquely your own. Use your photography to share your unique interpretation with the rest of the world. What the world doesn’t need is another carbon copy version of what others might expect you to feel. So why care what they think? Ironically, by being selfish you are giving the world the gift of yourself.
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