What’s the reality vs what’s projected online?
What’s the reality vs what’s projected online?
I started out like everyone else. 2 years in I thought I knew so much, I actually told a photographer I looked up to once (I apologized for my ignorance later), "How can I learn from this person, when I probably know everything that they do?" I think back on my younger self, and I want to throw her stupid ass through a wall. However, I run into this a lot on the forums, and it gives me empathy for when people say those words to me. I don't take it personally, that's just their level of experience. They'll get through it, and if they don't, they're only holding themselves back.
Evolution is learning to grow with some form of grace and grit, and everyone's story is unique. My evolution was that I shot up in my career very quickly, and much faster than I was prepared to handle early on. It took me a lot of years to grow the skills to catch up. Luckily, I survived my ignorance, but I easily could have not.
I started out taking pictures of flowers, and grew through the digital art realms, and now I find myself interested in photography with minimal retouching again. It feels like just a big circular process, that very gradually grows wider and wider. I revisit all the old themes and try them again, just to see how things have changed.
I recently went through my entire website and re-edited 300+ images. Not all of them made the cut, but it was a great way to see how my taste and skill had evolved with retouching. It was amazingly therapeutic, to revisit old work and give it fresh paint. I recommend this to anyone who has been doing it a long time. I found it to be a nice way to honour the person who was, and who the person is now as a creative.
How do you deal with doubt and insecurities?
I've always tried to be honest about what it's actually like vs online projection, and everyone's Behind the Scenes footage looks different from everyone else's. Travelling 10 months a year is brutal. It's a test of mental and physical endurance all year long, but it's what is required for me to do the work that I do for now. I have a gigantic personal stock library that I use daily, and as a result of constant use, I'm also perpetually running out. I like to shoot my own work so it's exactly what I need, and I don't have to try and cipher out what the stock photographers settings or focal points were. I know them because I shot it for a very specific look.
But reality is, most of my life I'm sitting in a country that I may or may not understand the language, running a business from my computer. As I mentioned above, it's the difference between being an artist, just making what I want, and running a business and having clients to serve. I like it. I like making artwork for people, it gives me challenges.
Finding balance is always an ever evolving thing. I know some days I have to be awake for 3 days to complete a project, and I know on the flip side of that I'll have to schedule 3 days where I can just sleep and go outside. Younger me sucked at that, older me is starting to figure it out.
I like to share the image below with people, because that's kinda what it feels like day to day. Some days my reality is amazing, but most days it's just the grind, like everyone else on the planet. :)
I used to have a huge case of imposter syndrome. I almost shut down my business over it, a few times. I say used to, because through a mix of therapy and a lot of effort to self awareness, I finally broke through it. It took a long time though.
What had to be realized was what I really wanted. Did I want to keep holding myself back because it felt comfortable? Feeling like I was undeserving, that everyone was better than I was, that people only said nice to things to me because they were my friends. Worse yet, was the incredible fear of having a personality that others thought was egotistical. It was putting my self validation in everyone else around me, but me. In the world of social media, that's easy to do.
Having a business actually helped that shift in my head. I realized that I'm here to help other people, and I've spent the last 20+ years working my butt off every day. This self doubt stuff was just childish and tearing me down, in a world that does plenty of that on it's own. Trying to keep a business afloat in a world that is really evolving to expire me in a few years, I needed a cheerleader, and it had to come from within me. I couldn't rely on anyone else to make me feel good, because people can sometimes let you down. How I feel about myself can't come from the outside, and that's really, really hard to do for some of us.
I still get doubts, I still have my insecurities, but I also know that I have my back, when the rest of the world has to look after their own. The crippling fear and isolation isn't what it once was, and I know I can get through it.
I'm on borrowed time, and life has taught me first hand how quickly things can change. When the lights go out, I want to make sure that I didn't waste too much time making me feel bad because it felt like the right thing to do. I owe myself honesty, not lies of grandeur or despicable failure.