Somehow it can feel naughty to say that I like my own pictures. Have you ever felt that? That you would somehow be perceived as not being humble, or being narcissistic, if you said that you love what you do? I don’t love every single picture that I take, hence why I only show 50% of what I shoot. However, I do love the pictures that I put out on the internet. I wouldn’t put them out there unless I loved them, or unless I wanted feedback.
Liking my own pictures does not equate to any sort of status, either personally or socially. I will never declare I am the best photographer, nor the worst. I will not say that I deserve awards or recognition, but I do believe in myself. I believe in my abilities not as a photographer, but as a person who wants to achieve.
If you are creating, it is often because you love it. You put time into your art, you put thought, and you put yourself. You are your art, more often than not. And if all of these things are true, it makes sense that you would love your art. Even if every picture doesn’t come out perfectly; even if others don’t love your art. It is a love for the process, the strength and determination and sweat and tears that go into creating. It is a love for yourself, enough to know that your ideas are worth being heard. And it is a love for confidence, enough to put your images out there and share them with others. That takes courage.
And so it takes courage to step out boldly and proudly to say, “Yes, I love what I do”. Heck, I wouldn’t even be creating if I didn’t love it. I get excited at the prospect of shooting. I am downright giddy when I edit. And when the time comes to call it a day – to save a .PSD, and a .TIF for printing, and .JPG for sharing on the internet, I am proud. I am excited by the end result. I know that I have taught myself something each time, whether about myself personally or technically. I know that I have spent time on something that truly represents who I am, either literally or within my imagination.
I can think of few greater accomplishments than knowing what you love, and then overcoming the fear of creating it. Artists should give themselves credit for not only figuring out what they want to say, but then also saying it. Telling a story takes courage, for it is one thing to keep it inside and quite another to allow others to judge you.
And so it goes on the internet: judgment. Here it is and here it will remain. We will hear good and bad. We will hear the naysayers and the do-gooders, and within the space of both we must allow our own opinions to shine bright. If we do not believe in ourselves, we cannot expect anyone else to believe in us. And so I say, with as much fervor as I can put into these typed words, that I believe in your story, in your art, in the art you have yet to make and the stories you have yet to think up.
Everyone has a story to tell, and it is up to us to believe those stories are worth being told.
Be proud of what you do. Be proud of what you have yet to do. Be proud that you tried, or will try. And if anyone asks you if you like your own images, answer proudly with positive affirmation. We might not love it all, but we love enough of it to keep moving forward.