Letting go of judging your photography
I hope you are all having a great week. Today I got an email from someone that started in the same way that many many emails to me start.
“I have been so rubbish, I haven’t picked up my camera in months!”
And it really struck me because it was so self-judgemental. I should be taking photos, I haven’t, so I’m being a rubbish person.
That is no way to treat your creativity!
And to be honest – why is it so important that you take photos all the time if it’s so difficult for you? If you can only manage to fit in once every few months then so what?
Being judgemental about ourselves – in any way – actually leads us to do the things that we love even less (I believe).
If you are saying – I should take more photos – I think it creates such a bad feeling inside of us, such a sense of judgement and thoughts of I’m not good enough – that we end up doing the exact opposite and taking no photos at all.
This shows the amazing light here in Hong Kong. The sun is behind my subjects and the light is being reflected off onto a green wall. I stood here for about 20 minutes just shooting people in this amazing light.
Same light. I think I prefer this photo to the one above – what do you think?
“If we demand perfection from ourselves we are not living in the real world…The inherent problem in the relationship between the ideal & the real is that the ideal judges the real as unacceptable and brings down condemnation and wrath on the real. This sets up an adversarial relationship between the two and like all adversaries, they move further and further apart.” Henry Cloud
So instead of telling ourselves that we should take photos – why not just wait until we are inspired and feeling good? Make it a time of fun and celebration! Enjoy it as and when it fits into your life.
Di is writing a book at the moment – very very slowly. She works with me on our business, we are ‘world schooling’ our two kids and she also is writing her book. When she started out she created a ridiculous schedule for herself that was impossible to maintain without creating stress. And we definitely didn’t start this world-travelling-working adventure so she could be all stressed out!
I love this shot! The light! Amazing! What do you think?
So she decided to pull back a bit, and lower her expectations. The top priority for both of us now with our creativity is to enjoy it! To allow it to bring us the intense incredible pleasure that making things with our very own hands and minds creates.
“The world always seems brighter when you’ve just made something that wasn’t there before.” Neil Gaiman
Being creative makes us both feel amazing, and in total awe of this planet. Being around other creative people makes us feel amazing too. Of course we’ve got lots of work to do too, but we’ve decided not to force our creativity. We have decided to just let it flow when it feels good.
And you know what? The more allowing, the less judgemental we are about our creativity and stopping all that negativity – the more we actually create. Because it makes us feel good in all ways! It’s no longer a should.
Of course right now I am in super insane inspiration mode because Hong Kong is INCREDIBLE. As you hopefully can see from my photos from this past week .
It still feels a little raw to show my photos straight away like this – before I’ve had the chance to mull them over – but I am not giving into my fear! I am putting them out there to see what you think, to get feedback and to show you how I work putting together a project.
Now help me here solve a marital dispute. Di thinks there is nothing special about this picture below – it’s just a load of poles, and some buildings! Said she.
Whereas I think it has a deeper narrative about the relationship of progress and environmental impact.
Now who is right?! Is there a deeper narrative or not!?
I would LOVE to know what you think of this batch 🙂 Please comment below. It’s always great to hear from you.
Plus some news!
We have just a couple of spots left on our Palermo, Sicily workshopnext May!
So exciting, because Palermo is another truly photogenic city. We’ll photograph the city at first light and as the sun settles at the end of the day. We’ll photograph the people, capture the atmosphere and the city so rich in history. I will lead numerous photo walks, feedback sessions and critiquing.
Have an amazing week! Thanks for reading – and please share with anyone you know who loves photography. It’s so helpful!
Anthony and Diana
This is a real cow. I had to queue up to get my photo taken with it. Cows are just wandering around on Landau Island, and being a sacred animal here, lots of people wanted their photo with it.
21/01/2020 @ 1:04 AM
Hello Anthony and Di, I enjoy reading about and following your travels.
Regarding the “marital dispute” photo; I think in a way Di is correct, however good composition can ‘pull’ almost any mess of subject matter into a coherent image that has the potential to set up a dialogue between the artist and viewer.
Each time I view this image, I find myself interpreting it differently. I see metaphors for progress, both as a glorious vision and as encroaching (rampaging?) threat. Then I became aware of the equally divided frame at the horizon line and it reminded me of photographs I have seen by underwater photographers where the surface of the water becomes the horizon line dividing the frame; the quality of lighting in this image further adds to this interpretation (for me at least). Seeing it as a 2D image turns it in to two separate images (diptych), but when looking at as a photograph of 3D subject matter, one tends to interpret it differently.
Thank you for challenge, and I wish you well in your travels, I’m deeply envious; perhaps that is another topic you can write about; ‘photographer-lifestyle envy’;).
23/01/2020 @ 6:18 PM
Hi Robert – thank you! I agree with you that I am correct 🙂 Thank you for your kinds words
31/08/2019 @ 2:33 PM
Thanks Mary. Yes the red pipe looks so odd to me 😉 Anthony loves it though – photography is so subjective. I love that we all have such different opinions about this photo.
29/08/2019 @ 4:50 PM
I like the pipes with the city but I would crop it off just below the pipes on the right.
I’m not nuts about the length of the red pipe.
Just another opinion.
Photo Challenge: Your best photo 100 metres from your home (or work) - Anthony Epes
29/08/2019 @ 4:25 PM
[…] Letting go of judging your photography […]
22/08/2019 @ 2:48 PM
I see a juxtaposition of raw and finished, but I can see it from your perspective, as well. One doesn’t usually see in photos of a city skyline all the debris that is left behind from the making of said city.
31/08/2019 @ 2:35 PM
Thanks Lisa. Yes I think the contrast of the subject is very interesting. There is so much that we do as humans that ends up discarded, and showing it all is pretty fascinating. Although I am still not crazy about this shot 😉
14/10/2017 @ 5:25 PM
I’m with Di of course on pipes and high rise 😉
14/10/2017 @ 5:39 PM
Yes! It’s amazing how people can see such different things in one photo.
15/10/2017 @ 2:38 AM
Fine. I don’t mind you both being wrong 😉
14/10/2017 @ 4:44 PM
What an amazing blog, and it applies across all parts of life, not just the creative bits. I know there are things that have to be done whether we are inspired or not, but so many people fill their lives with “I should”, and lose out on the fun of exploring something. A quote from Neil Gaiman too! Thank you
15/10/2017 @ 2:37 AM
Thank you Sheena. It’s all connected I think. Everything. I just started reading Gaiman this year. Trippy dude. Full of wonderful imagination in his prose.
14/10/2017 @ 12:44 PM
How right you are. Progress and environmental impact. I love it.
15/10/2017 @ 2:34 AM
See. I was right. Maria says so.
14/10/2017 @ 11:36 AM
More enticing shots Anthony. And I love that cushions in the light one.
Another favourite is the woman who seems to be wearing the street sign as a hat.
Your looking up header photo looks almost exactly the same as one that I just fell in love with and had to buy the book! Have you sen it? It’s in Rough Guide’s new photography book “You are Here”
15/10/2017 @ 2:33 AM
The header photo is of the Montane Estate in Quarry Bay. Every photographer worth their salt goes there to get this image. And I totally understand why – It’s totally weird, weird and beautiful. I’m taking the group there just to see it and will ask them to do something original. haha! I tried. Turns out this is by far the best angle. Not easy to get though – may cause very sore neck and super tripod skills!
Haven’t seen that book yet.