Who even are you? What makes your heart beat fast and your joy radiate off of your skin? What makes you complete? What makes you proud of your work? Let's talk a little about this because as easy as it sounds to simply just "be you"...in an artist's world, it's also very brave.
No. I'm not talking about finding your voice. We touched upon that last time.
We're talking about plainly, simply, freely being you. without regret.
Let's talk about all the ways I wasn't me in the past.
At one point...
I tried to make hardly edited, grainy, "artsy" polaroid-camera-ish photographs.
I over-edited everyone's skin. Like...I mean...they looked like creepy as fuck cyborgs.
I refused to clean up a single picture. Had a pimple? It fucking stayed. On your face. .
I gave 3 photos per session. Because, well, "Don't waste your time. Your time is so valuable. My gosh don't people know that you are an almighty photographer person artist extraordinaire?"
I didn't swear publicly, wrote in language with the best grammar and vocabulary I could muster all over my website.
I used cursive fonts with all matte everything and made everything light and pretty.
I advertised portrait sessions at $750.
I advertised portrait sessions at $30.
I refused to pose people - and only captured "genuine" moments. Genuine or bust.
I wouldn't push the boundaries.
I would push them too hard.
I would put out work that wasn't me.
Because someone, somewhere, at some point, told me that was what real photographers do.
Let's discuss how stupid this is.
It's the most stupid thing you can do.
End of discussion.
This was not just other photographers saying this. It was...get this...NON PHOTOGRAPHERS as well.
I'm not saying don't take advice. My gosh. If it's legitimate, please go out there and SEEK constructive critique, lessons, workshops, classes, and more. You should constantly be learning and enhancing your craft. Adam and I spend just as much time taking classes as we do shooting and editing. Why wouldn't you want to be you?
But, why wouldn't you want your art to be inspired by and created by and crafted by YOU?
Why listen to other people? Why make art the way they think it should be made? Why not make art the way YOU think it should be made? As with everything else in life, photography comes with rules. With technique. With certain standards and outlines. But once you learn them all (please begin by learning them all)...break them. All of them. Be you.
Do you like taking simple smiling portraits? TAKE THEM. Do you like making edgy, dark, dramatic photographs? MAKE THEM. Do you want to photograph newborns only? Or lifestyle photos with minimal editing, or under-sea photographs of pregnant ladies suspended in water? DO IT. And don't let someone tell you it's wrong or stupid, or make you feel like you're not doing something right.The same applies to dancers, designers, costumers, singers, architects, painters, and everyone in between.
Be no one else.
Be you. Be crazily, radically, wholly you.