I AM at a helpless level in photography right now. Gear cannot help me anymore. Majority of the challenge right now is creativity. The pace of improvement at this stage is very slow. Tons of effort with few positive results. Still don’t know how long and far this level will be and what will be next down the rabbit hole.
When I started shooting fashion-inspired photos back in 2010, I had my eyes fixed on a target. I knew what I wanted and where I was headed. The destination was clear. I also knew that there would be many challenges ahead. I had everything planned, and although I made some adjustments along the way, they were manageable.
What I didn’t realize is that the target that I set when I was starting up was only in reference to what I know about the industry and photography. As I move closer to my target, it seems to move farther away. The more you know and the more you’re exposed in the industry, the more you know that there’s so much to learn.
Whatever photographic genre you have chosen to pursue, the journey will be endless. I can imagine if Ansel Adams would have been alive today, he would still be introducing new approaches and different perspectives in his shots. He would probably break new grounds and continue to challenge himself until the end.
The photography journey is not a race because there is no finish line. It is not a one-way direction that everybody passes through, but instead it’s a multi-directional path that does not lead to the same destination but your own. Every photographer is unique and will have to face unique challenges as well.
You are your own competitor. The moment you compete with another photographer, you are following his path and not yours. One of the hard challenges when starting up is how to find yourself in a tank full of photographers. Sometimes our appreciation of a particular shooting style will lead us to mimic it. We want to be that guy.
I also started the same and by doing so, you get an instant gratification from your work. You want more of it so you keep on doing it. At some point you must break away and create your own path. Otherwise, you’ll be lost and cannot find your way back and will have to start all over again.
The rabbit hole in photography is endless. It will always break new grounds and will pose different unique challenges every time. You have to learn to back your passion with a strong will to pursue and a deeper appreciation of this art in order for you to survive. Photography will always be the journey and not the destination.
Keep on shooting, everyone!