Appreciation Of Self

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So “Who is your favourite photographer?” Historically that answer shifted quite a bit for me, depending on the day or the mood or which books I had recently flipped through. It was a complicated question to answer. But then I simplified it and changed the answer to “myself”. It came in a moment of inspiration, really. And without disrespect to the many incredible photographers out there, my favourite really ought to be myself. Sure, maybe this answer is implied in the question, as in “Who (besides yourself) is your favourite photographer?” But if so, I think it might have become so implied that many of us don’t even consider it as a possible answer. Have you ever considered yourself as your favourite photographer? And why shouldn’t you be? I would argue that many of the struggles that photographers go through internally stems from them not thinking highly enough of their own work. Learn to love your photography for if you do, you will do it longer, harder, and more frequently. And if you do those things, success will come naturally. But still I think many struggle with the concept of liking their work, or being their favourite photographer.

Being your own favourite photographer is not arrogant. Arrogance is when you think you are a better photographer than others. Or a more important photographer. Being your favourite photographer doesn’t have to involve thinking you are better than another, it just has to mean you like your own work the best. Since favouring is a matter of opinion and personal taste, shouldn’t your own work match your own personal taste the best?

Being your own favourite photographer doesn’t mean you necessarily think your work is good, it just means you like it the best.

Maybe your work is good and you like it the best, or maybe you know it isn’t terribly good but you still love it anyway. Separate the enjoyment of your work from the evaluation of how good it is or isn’t. Then you can focus on enjoying your photography and worry less about how good it is or is not. Because if you focus on enjoying it, you will tend to approach it in ways that cause it to get better.

This may be easier said than done, and to do that you will have to make a conscious effort. It will take work. But it starts with little steps.

Start by thinking of yourself as your own favourite photographer.

Just try it.

Nowhere Now Here

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Over the years I have noticed a trend in my photography. To be fair, I notice many trends. It is sort of how I work: I make photos over a long span of time then see where the pictures settle and read them like tea leaves. It gives me a perspective on what I am doing that I don’t have while I am out doing it. But I digress. It is a lot about feeling, mood, perspective or whatever other abstract ideas you want to associate with what guides us through the creative process. I tend to be more in a black and white mood, for lack of better words. I love the simplicity of black and white. It pares the world down a bit to more essential elements. It makes things a bit simpler, a bit quieter… in a way. And that is a big part of what is driving me. I appreciate that simpler rendering.

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I think part of it is also the timeless nature of b&w film/images. Colour is date able, by which I mean, you can generally tell when a colour image is made by its palette. The colour films of the 1970s look like the 1970s, just as the colour palettes of today’s images have a distinct look that is temporally anchored. Black and white eschews this dating to some degree. And I appreciate this too. That I am more easily able to make an image that is not anchored to a particular time, because sometimes the image I am making is not about a specific time at all, and if that is the case I don’t want that association to be baked into the photo. If that makes sense. But I do just like the concept of time as this slippery, amorphous, crazy notion of a thing and so if there is a way to set it aside just a bit, to make a photo that isn’t necessarily of a certain place at a certain time but perhaps somewhere sometime, then I enjoy doing that as well.

So there it is, just some of my thoughts hammered out in a bit of a stream-of-consciousness manner.

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