Amongst photographers, and should I say amongst humans nowadays, I have a strong feeling that some of us are totally loosing touch with reality. We are, should we not forget it, amazing creatures, with a very authentic soul and mind to accompany our bodies. Therefore, we must create authentic photographic work to reflect the same authenticity.
Now you might think this is a rant, and think again because to me, it’s the essence of all things on earth, and the superpower we all have within, should we accept to unleash it and cut our ropes loose.
If you’re part of these categories, there’s a great chance you might not be creating authentic photographic work, and suffer lack of authenticity :
- Surf instagram, facebook, pinterest, 500px 2-3 times a day
- Follow mostly photographers on your various social media
- Post regularly on social media & put a lot of thought into posts
So, here’s how I believe that’s clearly affecting your authenticity in your photography work.
Surfing 2-3x a day
Studies show that by surfing multiple times a day through a given feed, your brain connects to what it sees, and tries to replicate it. it’s what we have been doing since we were born… we copied our parents to talk, walk, smile, become part of some community.
The analysis of social media has proven that feeds are looking alike and that surfing, liking and commenting on feeds alike not only create a dependency on your social media, but create a standardised version of what you want to become. You are a creature of habits, and your habits are here to make you feel comfortable, and get a high return of dopamine to feel good.
Hey, we all like to follow photographers, so what’s the big deal buddy ? who gives a fuck who you’re following ? Well, you’re right… that might sound a bit too righteous but here goes the thing… you’d be better off focusing on anything else than photography to become authentic in your photographic work. Yeah, you heard me… BE AUTHENTIC IN YOUR PHOTOGRAPHIC WORK, by following LESS photography !
If you are looking into photography, your mind will want to replicate, once again. However, if you look at Picasso, how are you going to do the same photo ? When listening to music, how are you going to picture it ? What about when you look at sculptures or learn about architecture, how are you going to copy that ?
I think you get the gist of it now, you can’t… you CAN’T COPY what’s not photography in your photographic work. however, everything is going to help as it’s all going to create new connections in your brain, and you are most certainly going to develop a liking for something within that realm. Maybe you’ll want to create a portrait with some Picasso inspiration in the makeup, or the way it was lit. Maybe you’ll create lines and use very graphical structure to your shoots and composition to connect with your architectural inspiration, and for sure, you will work your way to authenticity.
Regular posting on social media
If you post on social media, you’re back to square one (depending on how you do it). For sure not all social media is bad or evil, and it should not be. BUT, it must serve a purpose, a higher purpose than what people expect from you.
If you posts and are concerned about what people think… think again, or stop thinking for 1 minute, get to meditate a bit and post it with an IDGAF (I Don’t Give a Fuck) feeling. You should be authentic, therefore should create art that resonates with you, the creator of whatever you create, the same way you create your life.
So, what do you think ? have you been overthinking what people might think of your picture ? do they like it ? will they “understand” it ? Is this going to affect them, leaving or staying after this post ? will they comment ? If all these questions cross your mind, you definitely need to reconsider why you are on social media and how that makes you a great prostitute to the system, and doesn’t make you the creator and the leader of the pack.
Sure, these are harsh words, but you, whoever you are, reading this post, must understand that you are not anyones slave, and you should not put yourself in that demeaning position by yourself. Assume who you are, and start creating. I bet and promise you that your expectations will be met, and even more, because people will find you, and your voice will be found.
How to become authentic
Now you’ve kind of figured out how all this following is totally screwing with your brain. How you’re becoming a slave to a system which actually is looking for creators whilst standardising the workplace. You’re maybe wondering if I have a solution for you.
First off, if you take into account what I wrote above, you should already have a few keys to how that’s hurting you, and preventing you from expanding to your higher self.
Second, you should just believe in yourself. Easy for sure… Just listen to yourself. What do you feel ? Does what you post or do energise you ? do you feel a rush in your body when you’re doing it ? Do you feel like you’re a super-Hero even if you’re wondering what the fuck you’re doing here ? So… Get out there !
Now… ok, you’re feeling like you’re energised, you are not a copycat, what next ? Well get your ass in gear, and go shoot the projects, meet people, do things. It’s all about connecting the dots. You don’t have models to shoot ? get to meet people ! You don’t have gear ? well get to meet people… why ? because people get you to clothing & brands.
If you find out what’s in for you, you’ll be in line to see what’s in for them. Remember being selfish is not about being an asshole, it’s about knowing what you want for yourself, standing your ground, and building a very healthy relationship with your peers, your photographer colleagues, and the whole industry you would like to assist by creating inspiring work.
What’s next ?
Well here’s what you should do (i already stated what you should maybe avoid)
- Follow your own path
- Believe what you’re doing
- Refuse work you don’t want
- Feel the emotions within you
- Connect with people
- Remember to Be nice and helpful
- Be genuine in your relationships
- selfish is not bad when trusting your emotions
- Always do things for the highest good of yourself AND others
What I can tell you is by doing that, you are going to feel amazing. You might also feel like you’re a total alien, people will tell you you’re mad, because leaders never follow orders, they do what is best for the rest of the community. They most certainly can’t always explain it, but they are driven by a higher goal than themselves when creating.
The Highest Good
When testing out gear, may it be for profoto or Fujifilm, giving a workshop or shooting for a client, i’m genuinely creating work with their highest interest in mind. I will give honest feedback, authentic statements, may it be appreciated or not, it will always be honest.
My photography work was one day dishonest, in the sense that I was not selfish enough with myself and I was creating copycat, poor work, which didn’t resonate with me. How could this resonate with my clients if even I didn’t believe in it, because it was “fake” emotionally ?
Long gone is that time, because I create what I love, and if the brands connect to it, we work together, if we don’t match… i’m not the one for them, and they are not for me. I want their very best, their best interests by being true to myself.
Now you have it, it’s time for you to get out there as an outdoor brand, lifestyle brand, sport brand, or as any business, and be true to yourself. Most large brands have figured that one out, and they have a voice, and stand their voice. Nobody is going to tell Patagonia they are not “in business to save their home planet”, and they won’t do anything which doesn’t back that statement.
So what’s your statement ? Give me your Statement ! And Back it up with emotions, voice, and action, and go out there, create authentic photographic work !