I was speaking with my friend, Terence Guider, this evening and something I have heard often came up. "You are a better photographer than you give yourself credit for." I have heard this about myself from many others throughout my life. I also had a recent conversation with some people I went to high school with and it was amazing how we all viewed ourselves so differently than others did in high school, and even still today. One person said their dream job was to be a drummer, the "cool drummer" (as we kept saying he was) didn't quite see it as so amazing. He thought it as not quite so glamorous.It intrigues me how different our perception of ourselves and what other see in is truly is. This is an idea I will explore many more times in conversations and hopefully in future blog posts. There is so much we all have in common. But this idea is an in depth one and one for another time. Today this post is about not over thinking and just doing it. Someone told me in that same night, Wednesday, May 11th, that I was now "a big shot photographer" but I brushed it off saying no. They had to look me in the eye and assert YES! before I was like okay maybe it's a cool job and I am alright at it. See again "selling myself short" as my husband always tells me when talking about careers and my abilities. I am also a horrible editor of my own work. This is a problem I have had since college--and I imagine probably before that too. Terence, John H. White (my photojournalism professor) and others would literally yell at me for not showing at first some of my what they said was my best work. I was often (and still am) accused of hoarded or hiding photos. Terence told me tonight he was "going to steal my hard drive" (to see what images I was hiding from the world). I laughed quite loudly cause he knew without even knowing anything I have photographed lately or if I had been photographing that there were indeed many photos I haven't shared with the world. Some times I am just simply really busy. I deliver the photos and edit photos for my clients. If you have been one of my clients you know just how many photos I deliver--often because I can't choose the best ones and I know that so I give them the choice. However outside of client photos which I usually only share with them and the occasional photo here and there of my daughter or us I rarely post the wonderful photographs I am taking.
I over think the photos and the posts, I want to write the whole story behind the image yet never find the time to do so often because I am out taking more images and living life, I over analyze, I question myself and I try to make the image just right or I am frustrated that it isn't just right as I saw it. So I hold on to the photos and there they sits sadly on my hard drive. I realized watching my daughter and being frustrated with her perfectionist personality and ways that I am so much like her. I never would have thought that was me. To myself I feel like I am always a mess: hair never quite in place, always spilling things on myself, seemingly always late or behind or not getting as much done as I wanted. However when it comes to photography and a few other aspects of my life I am definitely the perfectionist personality. That is hard and frustrating. People sometimes think of perfectionism as a positive thing wanting to get things right and done well, but that's not always the case. Over thinking and having a dream or ideal doesn't always make you go for the goal sometimes it can actually hold you back, make you think your work is not good enough or ready to show or simply believe not as talented as others know you are.
I don't know if that's the reason I hold myself back, I hold my photos hostage on my hard drive or if there is something else going on inside my head. What I do know is that I want to share my photos and I want to teach my daughter that it's okay to try and to show work that maybe you don't think is the best--cause you know what maybe you are just being too hard on yourself. We are always our own worst critics and boy do I know this to be true. However I can't watch her be that way, I want to teach her not to be hard on herself. So I am going to push myself to put more out there. Even if I think a photo could have been better, or it isn't quite my best work, I need to share it. I need to listen to others when they say good things. And if they say bad things I need to grow and learn from that too, but not allow it to change my confidence.
I had a creative writing teacher in high school with a grading system that drove me crazy but I realize now how smart it was. --Wow I am breaking down (literally tears) writing this because I finally realize the lesson from almost 20 years ago! She would grade all our papers on a scale of 25 but the highest she would ever give us, and she was honest to us about this, was a 24. She told us that no piece of writing is ever perfect. Writing is an art form. Every piece could be better, it's subjective, it would never be perfect. Even the greatest pieces in history received criticism. But a 24 out of 25 meant it was publishable and that was wonderful.
John H. White is a very inspirational teacher and he used to tell us often, "you can't publish an excuse." He meant no matter what happens, no matter what obstacles get in your way--including the doubts in your own head, make a photograph. And so I do. I make photographs every day. Sometimes they are with my fancy big camera, sometimes they are with a cell phone and sometimes they are as he says with "the camera of my heart." Some days I push myself to make an artistic photo, some days I just get quick snaps to remember what we did that day, but every day I am taking photos. I need to be better about publishing them.
So without further ado here are some photos from my hard drives that for one reason or another I was holding back...
I hope to make this a regular group of posts. I need to push myself to once in a while go through my hard drives and look. Don't think about it, don't make a huge fuss, edit or explanation, just share some simple photos. Please everyone hold me to it so Terence doesn't come steal my hard drives.