I can not count how many times friends, family, acquaintances, etc have hit me up like “Dude, I saw your post. I see you working with so and so, thats great!”, “Dude!!! You made it!”, or “Dude you ballin’ I see you out here going hard”. They see how many followers, likes, and all of that other jazz. They see pictures of me here and there with celebrities. They see me traveling. They see me partying. Welp, there’s a ton of things and most of them think I’m out here balling out of control just because I’m a photographer and i know a few people….but thats NOT the case.
I low key get discouraged every time someone gives me a pat on the back assuming that I’m this well off photographer. I’m not. I struggle just like everyone else. My bills get paid late, IF they even get paid…Shit…My phone was just off a couple of days ago (All praises to the wifi gods for allowing me to still text and call) lol. That’s probably why I’m so humble lol. I still feel like I’ve just started.
Social media can give you a sample of who someone is, but for real for real, you won’t know who the person is until you actually sit with them. People perceive what they want to perceive on the outside, and thats fine, but what if you really knew what was happening? You may see a rapper riding in a Bentley, but that doesn’t mean that its theirs. You may see a photographer posting about 100 photo shoots they’ve done, but that doesn’t mean that they actually got paid for them. You may see a singer constantly flying to different cities and countries doing shows, but you may not even know that their friends work at the airport and give them deals…and that they haven’t been paid for a gig because someone keeps promising them exposure. Most people won’t talk about this kind of stuff because they are afraid of what others may think about them…I honestly just want to be known as someone who’s open……I’d rather keep it real then struggle trying to keep up with a facade.
Within the last few months, I’ve hung around many people. Some were stuck on how many followers and likes that they had on Instagram, and how someone with tons of followers is following them and I’m like “fuck do i care for? You worried about your followers, you need to get your dollars up” (S/O to Drake haha). I’ve never been the guy pressed about how many people follow me. I’m concerned about my quality. I know tons of photographers who don’t have tons of followers, friends, etc…and are living in freaking Lofts in NY and traveling to Paris for lunch because they actually have the money to do whatever they want lol.
Social power is one thing, but its whats done behind closed doors that really matters. I procrastinate a lot. I have tons of issues with self doubt. I get afraid a lot and think about all of the negative outcomes. I’m freaking human lol. One thing i’m realizing is that I actually am not too bad at photography and if I put forth enough effort, I actually may be able to go somewhere. All artists are kinda never quite satisfied with themselves and if they are there’s a 8/10 chance that they’re arrogant and have dogs that have a striking resemblance of them haha…but anyways….this post was just made to set a few things clear and to let people know that sometimes those people that you think sooo highly of and think are wwaaaayy better than you, may actually be in the same boat as you, just covering things up with a few planks. This post is also to the posers…stop posing…and actually take the picture…if that even makes sense lol…
"If your dreams don’t scare you, they aren’t big enough…"
Who you are today and who you dream to be tomorrow should so different that they kinda creep you out lol. Often, I find myself thinking only about becoming some really cool event photographer…someone that just randomly tours with artists and gets to go back stage and stuff…but why can’t I be published in like every magazine too? Why can’t I have work in museums, galleries, households, malls, etc? Sometimes I get so freakin scared of where I may potentially end up, that I kinda step back. Every time I step back I get confused like “why am I stuck in the same position I was in before?”…Welp…Kinda answered myself there huh? haha. When dreaming big, your grind has to be even bigger. If we dream and our grind doesn’t match the dream we end up being stuck in traffic…and sitting there wondering why nothing is how we want it…lol
“You can be the most beautiful person in the world and everybody sees light and rainbows when they look at you, but if you yourself don’t know it, all of that doesn’t even matter. Every second that you spend on doubting your worth, every moment that you use to criticize yourself; is a second of your life wasted, is a moment of your life thrown away. It’s not like you have forever, so don’t waste any of your seconds, don’t throw even one of your moments away.”
― C. JoyBell C.
I catch myself quite often looking at other peoples work like “man…I wish I was on their level”…sometimes I even get to a point where I look at their work and I think to myself, “yo…you suck for real bro” lol Judging my work based off of the work of someone else will forever do that though. Your art is YOUR art, not anyone else’s. Your work represents YOU. The way that you go about creating it is solely YOU…Your interpretation on the subject matter is from YOU. So what if you can’t write a Novel as Epic as the Twilight Saga. So what if you can’t paint as wild as Picasso. So what if your clothing brand isn’t as off the wall as Jeremy Scotts’. That doesn’t mean your work is less great! C’mon. If you don’t believe in you, then who else will? Don’t be intimidated by others and their work.
In regards to realist painting, that would be something that I could NEVER be able to do…I just don’t have the patience for that lol…but hey…despite not being the best painter in the world I still had some of my work in the Philadelphia Art Museum in my High School years.. Just thinking about Dali, De Vinci, Worhol, and Basquiat…Their work is COMPLETELY different but you can’t really look at them and say that one is better than the other. Each of their work represents them as a person. It shows their imagination, their beliefs, etc. I can name a ton of photographers like Paul Octavious, Daniel Seung Lee, Joann Pi, Laura Austin, Jacob Price, Jodi Jones, Parker Fitzgerald etc…all who I freakin LOVE as photographers but they all bring something different to the table…That’s one of the wonders of art. Nothing is the same…No one fully see’s something how you see it…but no matter what, the message each artist is portraying will stay true to them. That’s the whole reality of it.
"Sometimes the grass ain’t greener on the other side.
Maybe the sky is clearer in another place.
But you got diamonds under your feet.
But you got diamonds in your heart.” - Laura Mvula | “Diamonds”
Ever look at your work like “hmmm, there’s something missing?”…”I’m not satisfied”…”this could have been better”…”I should tweak it”…Well 10 times out of 10 there is something missing and something should be changed. If the artist is not fully satisfied with his or her work, the reactions viewers give them doesn’t really suffice. It low key discourages some artists like “what the heck, this sucks for real…I KNOW I could have done better”.
One thing I’ve learned recently (which I’ve should have already known) was to take my time with my work. Losing sleep and trying to still finish most of the time leads to work that doesn’t really satisfy you as an artist. I cant even count how many times I’ve been super tired trying to finish working on something and when I was finished, I had that feeling like “YES, It’s finally over with”…but hours later “Man…I should have added this, I should have taken out that.” I mean…I’m speaking for myself when I say this…but there’s a HUGE difference between my “half sleepy, let me hurry up and finish this” work and my “yo that nap was crazy, I’m glad I took my time with this” work.
Another thing that I’ve learned recently is waiting for the right time. In regards to photography, sometimes we want to get that photo sooo freakin bad that we just take it…knowing darn well that we’d have to edit the mess out of it for it to look even close to the vision we had. Taking a photo of a road and seeing random things in spots you don’t want them to be. Dark areas that should be filled in but the suns overcast ruined the lighting. Shooting too close or too far from the subject because of limited space…etc. Being a digital photographer, we kind of have it easier than the film photogs. We can take a ton of photos and delete the photos we dont like. Film photographers tend to wait until the right time because they actually have to keep paying for film…but in return they most likely get the shots they want the first or second shot and not like the 15th. In order to get the photo/vision out…waiting for that right time, that split second where it just seems perfect is definitely a much needed thing. I’ve learned that if the lighting isn’t too dark at 8am…wait until later when the sun is out more. Even when it comes to photo shoots…wait until you have the lighting you want!
In all…we just have to take time to think like “Dude…is this reeeaaally what I want? Am I reaaallly satisfied with this?…If you’re too tired….REST…Let your brain get some clear thoughts in there. If its not the right lighting, If its not the right mood, If something isnt where its supposed to be….just wait until it is.
Take time to think. Am I satisfied? If not…don’t reveal it until you are. Don’t create it until you’re comfortable.
"The rung of a ladder was never meant to rest upon, but only to hold a man’s foot long enough to enable him to put the other somewhat higher." ~Thomas Henry Huxley, An Address to the Students of the Faculty of Medicine in University College, London, May 18, 1870, On the Occasion of the Distribution of Prizes for the Session
In the pursuit of finally having my first Gallery show (which was put off before, due to my procrastination), today I finally decided out of a whim to just go and get ready to actually start planning for it. I was super nervous, but above all…I need to realize that it won’t happen if I don’t just do it…I actually get fearful of being successful sometimes…it makes me want to just back out…but every instance where I’m about to, one of my homeboys/girls shoots me a text like “hey man, you really inspire me! keep it up”. Those really play a big part in me continuing to push myself forward. ..
You’ve heard the saying, “You don’t know unless you give it a try” right?!?! Well how much do you believe in that quote?…
After coming from the mall and chatting with one of my homeboys, I decided to park my car a few blocks away from my moms apartment (No, I didn’t park far away because I felt like just walking, if thats what you were thinking haha.) I really wanted to continue on my photo taking binge for my upcoming gallery. As I walked down the streets there were a couple things that REAALLY caught my eyes but I kiiiiiiinda couldn’t take any photos of them without the owners permission. My first instinct was to just head back to my car and go home, but something said “Ask the owner” each time…and what do you know…They said it would be ok and even went as far as asking for my website and other information!
Sometimes we get sooo fearful of what the outcome would be that we get too afraid to even give it a try…thinking the outcome would just be a negative one…or something that we don’t particularly want…Sometimes we need to just throw all of our cards on the table and go with the flow…taking that extra step towards what we want. Hey, its better to have taken 1 step than not taking one at all…