To be beautiful means to be yourself. You don’t need to be accepted by others. You need to accept yourself.
- Thich Nhat Hanh
A photographer I follow on Twitter linked to a blog post Chase Jarvis wrote about this idea, on being true to yourself with respect to photography: Stop Trying to Get Everyone To Like Your Work.
In the post he talked about how sometimes photographers stop being true to their passion, and instead get caught up in comparisons, what-ifs and so on, ignoring their unique artistic voice in favour of these external (self-imposed!) constraints or trying to make work they think will please everyone.
Simply said, by trying to please everyone, you end up pleasing no one, especially not yourself.I've read a zillion posts by photographers criticizing those who like to take pictures of flowers, or dogs, or do 365 projects or heaven forbid, take photos of their children (the infamous MWACs), even wedding photography has their share of scoffers. Name any subject in photography and I am sure you will find many photographers that poo-poo it, look down on it and chastise those who do it. So what do you do if taking photos of flowers is your passion? Or pet photography? Or <--insert subject here--> photography?
I have a hard time with this. It's actually one of the reasons I haven't posted in a bit -- I get caught up in analyzing my work and instead of enjoying it, it becomes a heavy thing. So it's good to step back, take a deep breath and remember that other photographers who I admire for their truly unique vision and perspective on photography experience similar struggles ... doesn't make it any easier, but it is reassuring.
People can smell whether you love what you’re shooting or not, love what you’re pimping or not, love what you’re doing or not. So you might as well effing love it for real. It’s all you’ve got.
- Chase Javis