I love my work. I love being out with old friends or new people, the comforting weight of the camera in my right hand. I love creating something beautiful, make people feel good about themselves. This passion has made me work quite hard from the moment I started taking photography seriously. It means the world to me.
Like many others, I like to look at beautiful photographs that inspire me. But too often, that sneaky voice that compares myself to others kicks in. Look at her, 10k followers in Instagram. Of course, she’s good. You can only dream of being as good as her. Then I feel so incredibly discouraged, and, even worse, I’m ashamed that I felt proud of my work. I feel ridiculous for being proud of nothing.
During those moments I try to be mindful and snap out of the negativity. It’s easy to look at other people’s work and feel overwhelmed by their skills and success. But what we don’t see is how much effort they’ve made to get there. We don’t see their struggles, how long it took them to get where they are now. Don’t compare yourself to others, just to the person you were yesterday.
Then I also have to remind myself that my budding work already matters to certain people and not respecting it is disrespectful to them. It’s like making fun of something they appreciate. Yes, I’m far from where I want to be. But with every day I spend working on my photography that passes, I’m one day closer to reaching my dream.
I had a photo shoot with David the other day. He’s amazing. He’s just 23, but already has his own business, One Song.One Take, where he takes photos and makes live videos of musicians. Musicians like Rhodes or James Bay were already in front of his lens. He’s an inspiration to work even harder.
We shot for one and a half hours and had some tea afterwards. I asked him all kinds of questions he patiently answered and the talk with him was very helpful. Thanks to him, I finally set up my photography website and got valuable insight into the creative business. He’s found his niche, his network skills are great and he’s working hard. I believe those (and a little luck) are the three essentials to succeed.
I knew it’d be tough to be successful as an artist, but talking to him made the struggle more tangible. There are so many of us out there and the only thing I can do to stand out is work hard, network and give more than my best. I’m driven by my passion and ambition. I was born for this, I’ve hardly known anything with such clarity. I was born for this and time will show if my potential is good enough to keep up with my dreams.
Looking back at the last couple of months, I realise that I’ve come far. The effort has paid off. I’m so thankful for every single person who has supported me from the beginning and their words of encouragement – you are invaluable. I’m reaching for the stars and you make me believe it’s actually possible.