Can I share a few thoughts on some discouraging feelings I've been having lately about photography? I think other people here will relate, so I hope you don't mind! I think the long-timers around here probably know by now that I struggle with depression and so it's probably just because of my own 'issues', but I'm willing to guess that all of us have 'been there, done that' with the couple of things I'm having a hard time with... at least a little bit.
One thing I've been finding hard lately is that I follow quite a few photographers on Facebook, and I'm somehow finding that while they do at times inspire me, lately it seems hard to enjoy and appreciate my own efforts in comparison with theirs. Yesterday I saw Meg Bitton critique one of her own images on FB (oddly enough, not the critique I would've had, and I rarely do have any criticisms for her work, but in this case I wasn't quite as crazy about the image as most of her work)... but anyway, I was like, "Wow! She's nitpicking THAT in such a gorgeous photo?" Then I read some other photographers saying, "Yeah, you're right," in essence, and I thought, "Gee, if they're in agreement with her, then I have a LOOOOOOOOOOONG way to go to get to that point." And yeah, it's good to know that, and to strive for the best, and to keep working toward it. But sometimes it feels like there is just no earthly way I will ever reach that goal of being THAT good. It just wears me out mentally somehow.
Another thing that's kind of pulled me down lately is that I did that glamour birthday shoot, and the mom of the birthday girl has said SO little to me about the images, I wonder if she's at all happy with them, if they totally suck, or what. And the reason that's discouraged me is because *I* thought they were quite good! I was proud of them. So to get so little feedback from what you'd expect to be a proud mama is kind of like, "Huh? Where did I go wrong?" (An added dynamic, rightly or wrongly, is that we ended up doing the shoot for free, because the mom lost her job and I thought her daughter would be heartbroken to have the party canceled, so I went ahead with it anyway... and it just strikes me somehow especially depressing that in light of a free shoot, the mom has so little to say. Does that make any sense? I think if someone did a free shoot for me, I'd be extra motivated to tell them how much I appreciated their efforts, you know?)
The last thing is... and I think this is good in a way, but I see how far I've come in the past few years and so while I should be encouraged by that, I sort of cringe at my older work and wonder how I ever thought it was any good... and then it makes me think, is my current stuff kind of cringe-worthy too, but I just don't see it? Because I seem to get less feedback than I used to (i.e. on Facebook and other sites), and even in our crazy local camera club, I am not getting any better results than before, either.
I think because I am struggling with my mood lately, these issues all seem very BIG to me, but the thing I find hard is just continuing to motivate myself to TRY, when I feel like I'm falling so short. Does anyone else ever feel that way? I suspect part of it is the result of being a creative type of a person... we are hard on ourselves, and our moods are a bit more up and down? But boy, it's frustrating!
Thanks for listening... I hope no one minds me being personal about my struggles, but I figure here is one place we all kind of understand the emotional ups and downs of this craft, right?!