This is a question that comes up often with emerging photographers, who are both intimidated and discouraged by the magnitude of great work out there on the internet.
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Rest assured! You are different from every other human being, your likes and dislikes, interests, feelings, discontent and pleasures, are distinctly different. However, you do need to learn to visually express yourself. How excited are you about your work? Do you still feel passionate? If not, you may suffer from burnout and need to take time out to recharge your batteries.
What if this turns out to be nothing but a noise in your head, a form of self-sabotage or inner critic?
If so, what would be the best way to bypass this nagging self-criticism and doubt? The answer may lie within your own identity, which, when fully developed over time, will guide you to create the kind of work that has been inspired by your personal history, your background, your relationships with your subjects and your environment. You might think of this as an inner landscape that reflects your own sensibility, style and brand. Then, the creative process will assist you in evolving your personal vision.
So combine your ideas with new techniques, lenses or a totally new process and see what you come up with, experiment! Reinvent yourself. Does your work feel like your personal expression? Ask yourself “Who am I becoming?”
An artist must do his or her work for its own sake, without comparison to others who came before. That means accepting yourself and allowing your inner voice to flourish, trusting your instincts, and not second-guessing the market place.
In order to create a unique body of work, focus on what truly interests you, what has meaning and value for you, create from what you love and make an authentic statement. This way of working will create a joyful experience in your life, a lightness of being, a playful free flow affecting all of your work. It might even spill over into your relationships with clients, loved ones and neighbors.
Being fully present in life allows for a creative life, full of surprises, delights and synchronicity. A creative life leads to creative work!
“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.” Marcel Proust
Monica Suder works with the international photography community as a creative and career coach, consultant, lecturer, panelist and educator. She brings over 30 years of professional experience as an award-winning photo editor and director of photography. As an editor, she worked at Magnum Photos, Time-Life, Rolling Stone and Outside Magazine. Monica assists photographers in carving out a strong creative identity and in developing one-of-a-kind portfolios. Monica Suder
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