Take photos, even if no one is looking

Take photos, even if no one is looking, even if they never see anyone else’s eyes but your own. I’ve come to the realisation that social media is the catalyst of something regretful, and that is the need for recognition. I want to break the habit of needing it, the need for approval, recognition and validation. I didn’t get into photography because I needed my ego stroked, I got into photography because I love the act of taking a photograph & printing it. When did that reason get replaced along the journey?

A long time ago I picked up a camera and started to take photographs on the way to work. I loved it so much that I quit my current career trajectory to become a photographer. So when did the love of the craft turn into a need to satisfy my ego and get recognition from others? We all started because it was a creative outlet for ourselves. Why do we care about what other people think about our work? Why do we need a certain number of comments or likes on social media to give us a reason to continue? When its this very reason that is killing our creative exploration. Needing approval, to satisfy the crowd makes us less likely to experiment or try new innovative approaches. Our consistency pigeonholes us, which can be devastating in our early years of creative development.

They say you can’t satisfy everyone, needing to please the masses and your ego will drive you to steer clear of failure. You will stick to a path of consistency, of knowen truths and results. I believe that experimentation and failure is a great thing, and can only be achieved by disregard the needs of our egos and our need for recognition from others. We need to forget what others think of us. We need to focus on ourselves and our practice more than getting recognition and praise. The art, the craft should come before the credit. Do you think directors do what they do because they love making movies or because they like seeing their name in the opening credits? We should be more focused on our images touching ourselves, than if they might get a social media recognition.

I’ve started to post less and less on social media, mainly because my practice doesn’t need other people approval to justify to myself what I’m doing. If I’m truthful to myself the likes are just a distraction from my practice. It feels great to be recognised by our peers, but that shouldn’t be the sole reason for expressing ourselves. It should be a selfish act of exploration and curiosity for ourselves and not for a like that leads to a thumb scroll of amnesia. Are your taking images for the right reason? Our creativity should be an experiment in curiosity, not popularity.

1 Comment

  1. I just discovered your website tonight. I must admit I've been struggling with where to go with my photography. The last three or four years I've only been trying to make money at it. I completely forgot what it was that i loved about photography in the first place. Looking for inspiration to pick up my camera again. Your thoughts really help in starting my journey over again. Thank you for taking the time to write it.

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