Updated: May 28, 2019
Nowadays I do a lot of photography talks about street photography and other genres of photography whether that be in universities, colleges, an audience in a camera club or a venue full of enthusiasts. The one thing that keeps recurring is how vunerable photographers and creatives are in general. This also affected me as a young photographer the lack of confidence, the self-doubt creeping in and of course the old nutshell lacking self-projection all leading to a lack of confidence and a feeling of vunelrabilty.. Yet I see so much talent and potential.
Photography can be quite a lonely profession and sometimes time spent with clients photographing and working on jobs we don't really enjoy, I call it prostitution as for me it describes how I feel, we do it to earn money, we do it to put food on our table and earn a living to help us grow as a photographer, as a person and a business. Because of this and the loneliness, in other words, being a sole trader does from time to time give you a lack of confidence. It's something has a professional we all have to do, we can't always pick and choose and get wonderful jobs that feed our souls, so there will always be jobs that although pay, will get us down. This, in turn, adds to our vulnerability adds our loneliness and to self-doubt.
It also seems to me that most of those that enter this profession of this underlying trade. Sometimes what you crave for are not always what does you good. Over the years it just took me some considerable time to gain my confidence as a photographer and has a human being to be able to communicate properly and to generally feel good about what I produce and who I am and where I'm going. When I teach other professionals I always say please have a personal project and do something that really feeds you. It might actually not even be photography, it might be in something else, it might be yoga, it might be meditation, it might be anything but do something that alongside your photography for work that’s you. It's so important to have the right balance and if you don't it will get you down.
For me it's street photography I'm going back to film, going back to my roots and meeting people on the streets. It's something we have all forgotten to do. We walk the streets with our head in our mobile phones, walking from one location to another, not making eye contact. We do it because our lives are busy, we’re under stress, always searching for that next client. We've forgotten how much beauty and how much inspiration there is on every street corner particularly for me with people.
Put your phone away, lift up your head and smile at people as they pass you. Occasionally stop and have a chat with them. It's a really nice thing to do and if you are that way inclined... yes photograph them, it’s amazing how good it makes you feel and for that matter, how good it makes them feel. We all need to converse with our fellow human, we all need a cuddle. Go on, go and have a coffee, chat away it’s part of our needs as a human being and it lifts our spirits takes our mind away from the mundane. Don't be that solitary photographer where you have so much time in your own mind. That's when little things become bigger and infect you till all of a sudden you doubt everything around you.. you doubt your skill you doubt your talent when really all you need to do is become part of society and stop and talk to people. Go out with friends, don't immerse yourself in your work. It’s very important to keeping your mind healthy and giving you a positive attitude.
Outwardly we are all mirrors of our souls and what's going on inside us at the time can tell people if there's something wrong or is there something not just right with you at that moment. So remember always have a project that feeds you and that makes you feel good that lifts and elevates you, makes you grow as a person and makes you grow as a photographer. Remember belief is everything! If you believe in it enough it will happen.
I'm a big advocate of mentoring we all need help it, especially from someone that's been there that bought the t-shirt has been through it, that succeeded, somebody that gives us inspiration and helps us through the dark times and most importantly helps us through that self-doubt.