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I’ve struggled so much with photography lately. Why? I have no idea. I keep thinking about whether my photos are good or not and care too much about it.

I don’t do this with music. I know I’m not the most brilliant guitar player, but I love playing the guitar and I keep practising to learn more and develop skills. I enjoy the learning journey and I enjoy playing even if I’m not great. So what is the difference? Why can’t I have this attitude with photography?

The thing is that photography, like art, is so subjective. Who decides what is good? There are lots of variables to examine (technical skills, composition, use of light, narrative etc) and lots of people having different opinions, but can you really decide what is good unless you know the photographer’s intent?

With music, I have my own goals I want to reach, and an idea of what I want to be able to do on the guitar or on the concertina. In photography, I don’t. I just want to become “good”, but without having a definition of what “good” means. And then you have all sorts of experts telling you what is good and what is not. When I try to search online to look at the work of famous and highly praised photographers, most times I don’t even like their photos. Of course it’s confusing!

I need to treat photography more like music, decide for myself what exactly I want to achieve, and work towards that. You know, when it comes to guitar playing, I look at players like Doc Watson, Norman Blake, Bryan Sutton and similar, and I try to learn their techniques because I like their style. I don’t try to play like Eddie Van Halen, because it’s not a style I’m interested in. And I don’t worry about pleasing people who like rock guitar or jazz, because I play bluegrass. So why do I care about what people think is good landscape photography, when in reality I’m more interested in macro and closeups, or gig photography? It seems so silly when I think of it.

If I don’t overanalyse my photos, I actually like many of them! It’s only because of my engagement in photographic competitions that I’ve started picking photos apart and that I tend to think like “what would judges say” and then I doubt everything I do with the camera (or in Lightroom, for that matter). How stupid! I need to set my own standards and just enjoy what I can do with the my camera.

So now I’m going to stop overthinking photography, and will focus on having fun with it (I know I said this months ago, but I didn’t follow it). This week I’ve been out for some pleasant walks, and have indulged in – blackberry photography!

Blackberries
Blackberries
Blackberries

And a few that are not blackberries but still caught my interest.


Linking with Denyse Whelan’s Wednesday words & pics.

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Comments:

  • 13th September 2022

    Susanne, Your pictures look beautiful to me. In my opinion, beauty (of a photo) is in the eye of the beholder and photos as an art form evoke different reactions from the viewers. If you’re satisfied with your pictures, that’s what matters. I hope you continue enjoying your walks and photography. #WW&P

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  • Min

    13th September 2022

    Hi Susanne, I know photography – I did a Diploma in Professional Photography back in 2014 and was obsessed with it for a long time. I still enjoy it but don’t partake much these days except for snapping away with my iPhone. Anyway – your photo’s are good and the kind of photos I enjoy too! Don’t overthink it! My love of photography disappeared for ages because I overthought things. I thought I had to make a career of it and that extinguished the love of it because of the pressure I put on myself. I also found that I didn’t like taking photographs for other people. I enjoyed taking photographs of things that pleased me! Mostly nature and I prefer natural daylight photography whereas a lot of the professional work was using artificial light. Anyway – to me photography is an opportunity to capture a moment and be present in that moment. Enjoy it and your music! 🙂

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  • 14th September 2022

    Hi Suzanne – I think the joy often gets sucked out of what we do when we start over-thinking it and worrying about what other people’s opinions might be. It happens with blogging, it happens with all kinds of art, and with anything that is more subjective than objective. I think your photographs are beautiful and I love the clarity and light that you capture. I’m no expert – I’m just a believer in finding joy in what you do and not trying to justify it through the eyes of others. I bet the famous artists and writers all had their critics – and imagine if they’d given up….

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  • Joanne

    14th September 2022

    I think your photos are just lovely! It’s definitely that comparison trap that steals the fun out of everything… I try so hard not to worry about it and just focus on the fun I have taking photos but it can be hard not to compare and wonder how to make my photos better.

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  • 15th September 2022

    Wow. I know creative people who are (can be) perfectionists make life somewhat misreable for themselves. It’s driven into us (I am not saying either of us are) as we grow up and I think we call have a tendency to be like this.

    Creativity cannot be taught.
    It can be felt and seen and heard.

    I believe this is what you (and I) need to remember. I am much better now at ‘process being more valuable to me than product’

    The blackberries were so luscious, I felt I could reach out and try one.

    Thank you for joining in this new weekly link up of mine. Looking forward to catching up with you when you next do so, for Wednesday’s Words & Pics. Warm wishes,
    Denyse.

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  • 15th September 2022

    It’s hard to see your own photography objectively sometimes Susanne, but you can do it with music so maybe you can tell your negative voice to go away! Your photos are lovely and overthinking isn’t helpful is it? It’s great to read your thoughts and I wish you well.

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