As photographers many of us continually strive to reach more of our potential and miss a key point of life… there is only one competition that matters. It isn’t comparing ourselves to others. Or subjecting our work to the scrutiny of judged events. Or waiting with baited breath hoping for accolades to be bestowed upon us. Or counting the number of ‘likes’ that our work generates.
The only competition that matters in life is competing with our own best self. And, not just with our photography, but with everything that we do.
NOTE: Click on images to enlarge.
Each of us has been gifted with talents and abilities. It is our responsibility to grow and nurture those gifts… and have them blossom during our limited time here.
Worrying about what other people think about us and what we create isn’t the path of growth. It is the path of mediocrity and fear.
It is always a worthwhile exercise to go back and review some of our older photographs. I had that opportunity recently as I gathered up some images from several decades of holidays shared with terrific friends… to help them with a personal project.
As could be expected, many of those photographs were incredibly bad on a range of dimensions. I didn’t need the critiques of others to realize that fact. Reality was staring me in the face… as it has countless times before.
The camera gear that we own and use doesn’t matter at all when it comes to competing with our own best self. What matters is how we learn to use those tools to their best effect. And, discover how open we are to our own creative instincts and inspiration.
Personal growth stems from challenging ourselves to do better. To push ourselves to use more of our potential to help overcome whatever obstacles may lay in our path.
Character is built by pushing through adversity. Not floating through life on a soft innertube that is meandering down a calm stream.
What purpose is there in comparing our work to others? We may occasionally learn some helpful techniques, or find some inner inspiration that we can use in our journey. And if we do… we can be thankful… then move on.
Copying or emulating others does not help us reach our own potential. Trying to be like others does little except to distance ourselves from our core existence. And, pull us away from our inner purpose and authenticity.
Being brutally honest with ourselves when we evaluate what we do can be difficult at times. These moments of razor-edge clarity can put our delicate self-image to the test. Especially when we discover that we have fallen short of the illusions that we have created of ourselves. Harnessing that awareness can help us grow.
When we really study the person in the mirror who is looking back at us we appreciate how quickly time passes. There are no ‘do overs’ in life. Nor will the promissory note of tomorrow be guaranteed. There are only the moments of now that we experience today, and our dedication to be the best that we can be for as long as we find ourselves here.
Photographs were captured handheld using camera gear as noted in the EXIF data. Images were produced from RAW files using my standard process. Photographs were resized for web use. This is the 1,149 article published on this website since its original inception in 2015.
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