Zack: I'm an older (38), hobbyist photographer with little self-esteem and difficulty approaching people but who loves the process of creating images. I admit I seek approval and some recognition of my work, but photography isn't my career-its my main creative outlet. I use DSLRs and some film,am mostly self-taught,can't afford fancy gear & certainly couldn't dream of competing with solid pros like you or the new crop of young visionaries. What advice would you give? Thank you. Sincerely, M.
Man, just enjoy photography for what it is to you. Enjoy the process of learning. Enjoy the process of creating stuff YOU like. Don’t worry so much about the recognition. Study what happened with Vivian Maier.
Read this article that was published recently on Wired’s RAW file blog. It opens with a quote…
Make pictures you like, not pictures you think someone else will like. If you do, the clients will come.
Replace the word “clients” with “recognition”.
You state you have little self-esteem. Are you seeking recognition for your work because you have little recognition for yourself?
If I smoked weed, and I don’t, you’d find me taking a drag off of a joint and saying… “Awww maaaannnnnn. Don’t worry about that stuff bro! Just live and be free and stuff man.” :)
Coming from a guy who has had zero self esteem for much of his life… listen to me. Smile. Don’t worry about that. Live and be free. Don’t find your identity in the camera. The camera is nothing. But let the camera be the key that opens doors for you. Let it be a passport to places. Smile. Go talk to strangers. They will bless you and you will bless them. Make the most out of this one life you have. Don’t live in the past. Don’t have a heart attack about the future. Do your job. Take care of those around you the best you can. Go make some pictures.
Love the process. Be ok with yourself.
Hey. Salgado didn’t get into photography until his 30’s. I know photographers getting into it in their 50’s. Shit, look at what Nikki Sixx is doing. Yeah. That Nikki Sixx. Motley Crue Nikki Sixx.
Check out this quote from an interview he did with Leica.
Q: How did you go from being a rock bassist to being a photographer too? Did you find this a natural transition?
A: You hit a place where you go all the way back and reflect on your life. I’m 54 years old; I have more years behind me than there will be in front of me. You hit a place where you want to reflect; maybe it happens sometime in your 40s. I’m a father of four and a recovering heroin addict. I’ve been doing all this creative stuff, not for money, but for passion. Sometimes it does turn into money and I’m able to support my family and continue to be an artist. That is why I always support other people to become successful artists. I say, “That’s beautiful. If you’ve done it once you can do it again.” You can keep doing it. We all benefit from it. If you are a fan of a photographer or painter or musician, you can benefit if they can be successful.
That is awesome. That inspires the crap out of me. I’ve never been a Crue fan. I’m sure as hell a Nikki Sixx fan now. Not bad for a Leica shooter huh?
I just turned 40. I’m finally getting comfortable in my 40 pounds too heavy skin. I look at myself in the mirror and I’m looking a lot less like me and a lot more like my father. All of my friends from highschool are getting old and fat. What the hell happened to them? OH. Shit. Damn. I’m getting fat and old.
I’m going to finish a job and go ride my bike.
Enjoy the process. Learn. Grow. Get better. Smile.
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