Go your own way

I feel like I learn a lot about photography every day. My brain just seems to absorb information like a sponge about how I want my style to develop, like it has never absorbed information about anything else before.

Kath, a lovely reader of my blog left a comment on my Two days in Delhi post saying:

“I have been reading your blog for a few months now and it has been amazing to see your photography style develop and mature so much in such a short period. You have the gift of capturing the energy and emotion behind the image that so many photographers miss…” (thanks Kath!!xx)

and that really struck me because just a moment earlier I had been thinking about how the way I take my photos is changing so rapidly! And since my last trip I feel like it’s almost changing with every photo I edit.

Something that I have been dealing with lately is trying to be less of a perfectionist while at the same time, trying to be more deliberate. I look at other people’s work and I really admire it, and then I look at my own and think “this would be better if the person was looking the other way”, or “you shouldn’t have left their foot out of the photo, you really didn’t need to, you should be more aware of what you’re shooting”.

But then I came across this post on Steve McCurry’s blog (as in Steve McCurry of Afghan Girl fame) and I tried to look at his photos as if I had taken them myself, and I realised – some of his horizons are crooked, sometimes there’s too much shadow, sometimes some bits are out of focus… but I still think they're beautiful, and I still admire his work as much as I ever did. So maybe it’s ok if my photos aren’t always perfect in every way, because what I’m after is showing life the way I see it, and goodness knows that isn’t a perfect view. Sometimes it slides by too quickly and I miss a foot – and that’s ok!

Something that has really sunk into my brain lately is that the best thing you can do for yourself if you are working as a creative is to go your own way. For a long time I looked for approval from other creatives who have been working in the business and for the most part, I didn't get it. And the best thing I did for myself, or still do because it’s an ongoing process, is be ok with that. I can’t do what other people do, I don’t know how. I can only show my work the way I have taught myself to do it, and the way I have learned to see the world.

It’s a lonely path, and it is most definitely a leap of faith, but if you’re going to do it you may as well do it your own way. And as for having the confidence to do it at all? I’ve always just faked it – but that’s a story for another time.

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