The Gap Between Where You Are And Where You Want To Be
What often comes up when thinking of having a vision for your art, your photography, is that nagging feeling of inadequacy. Don't mistake a unique vision for your work with a goal in the distant future though. You already have that unique way of looking at the world, you have this vision, but most of the time you are not consciously aware of it. Having a vision of where you want to be can be useful to inspire you to move forward, but it can also cause you to loose inspiration if you only focus on this end result.
In art there is hardly ever an end result. We like to think that there is and should be, but the truth is that for the vast majority of artists there will also be something left to be desired, some room for improvement. It is probably one of the greatest driving forces behind the work that we do.
What I hear often is creatives losing their joy in creating because they can't seem to overcome the gap between the things they create and the things they wish they'd create. I feel that this is often a result of looking at other artists' work that we admire and then start to feel inadequate, because we can not do that. The fact is however, that if you embrace creating from your unique vision, this also means acknowledging that the artists, who you admire, also work from their unique vision. This way of looking comes easy to them, because it is how they naturally perceive things and....they probably put in hours and hours and hours of practice. We are not here to emulate their vision, to make what's theirs ours. It is perfectly ok to admire someone else's work and let it be theirs.
I used to feel this way too when looking at the photography of some very talented photographers. I admired it so very much, I wished I could take pictures like that. Until I realised that not only could I not take pictures like they did, but also should not even want to take pictures like that. The only pictures I should take are those that are coherent with my own unique vision and my way of looking at the world.
Imagine if we were able to create things in the style and vision of someone else exactly, then why are we here, why do we create? Surely we want to create things that were not here before we came to this world? And how would we ever be able to look at things that take our breath away again if we could make the same things? No work of art would enchant us if we felt : "I can do this too". Things leave us in awe only because they ARE unique and created with passion and from a true connection to something deeper.
Now, this is not to say that you can't strive for excellence, that you should not learn techniques from those that you admire, that you then adapt to your vision, but it is important to realise that there might only be one (insert the name of your much admired photographer), but there is also only ever one YOU. And this is where your power is. Your power comes from within.
If you however have an end result for your pictures in mind based on your own vision and you feel you can't reach it, know that you might never reach it....because it (the end result) will always change. Every time you improve, you push that line of the end goal a bit forward. It is not fair to yourself to start feeling down because you don't reach that goal. Look at your first photographs and compare them with the ones you are taking now and see that you have come closer to what you want to capture. Knowing what your vision is, that filter through which you see the world, helps tremendously, but it takes time and practice to convey this in your pictures.
More about connecting to your own unique vision and how to capture that in the work you create in my upcoming class Your Vision, Your Story. This class will not only help you discover your vision, but will also give you concrete tools and steps to convey them better in your pictures. It breaks down things like composition into storytelling elements that will not only help make your pictures feel more personal, but also greatly improve your photography. Sign Ups start on July 1st 2018!
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