As a self-taught (and still self-teaching) photographer, one of the great aspects of modern technology is the ability it allows to easily follow the work of others. Through blogs and social media, I have discovered a number of different photographers whose work I greatly admire; and who provide a source of comparison and inspiration. There is a downside to this, however, as often times it leads me to devalue my own efforts. I sometimes second guess decisions to post my own photos online, feeling that compared to others they just don’t stack up. I also feel tinges of jealousy; wanderlust, hard fought to suppress, screams with envy while viewing images of the western landscapes I just can’t get to as often as I’d like.
I’ve been struggling with this a lot lately, and I know it’s something I need to fight through. My photos might not be perfect, but skill wise they’re where I’m at right now. Beyond plentiful self criticism, my confidence has recently absorbed additional blows in form of contest rejections, art shows where barely a soul would stop to look, and even a few smug comments here and there. I’ve also spent way too much energy this season concerned with sales, or lack thereof. All this has left me in a creative funk and with regrets of wasted time. If I want to break through I need to push such noise aside, get back out in the field, and just keep trying to get better.
Iowa is also where I’m at right now. And it will be for the next couple of years. I’ve said it before, but despite this constant yearning I have to travel and explore new places, there is abundant beauty right here at home. A goal of mine, for as long as I am here, is to work to capture and share that. I want to show people that there’s something more to this “flyover state;” leave viewers with impressions of Iowa that belie the clichés.
So here’s to regaining priorities, putting myself out there again… and no more wasted time.