A Young Photojournalist on Burning Out, Getting Ahead, and Being Satisfied with Your Own Work.

A Young Photojournalist on Burning Out, Getting Ahead, and Being Satisfied with Your Own Work.

We all have our own motivation for the images we choose to make. Every photographer has that little voice, that driving force pushing you toward the goal, or that feeling in your gut when you really nailed it.

Maybe that works to your advantage now, but at some point, it’s likely to break loose and run wild…for better or for worse.

As up-and-coming photojournalist Brittany Greeson will tell you, it’s time to figure out how to keep yourself in check. At what point does getting ahead begin to disrupt your life, your relationships, your health, and your creative process? How do you know when the “monsters” have taken over?

Greeson recently penned a beautiful essay that explains how she, as a young photojournalist studying at Western Kentucky University, has struggled with her fear of failure and bitterness toward the photo industry.

And yes, you are reading that correctly. Greeson, still a student, hit the same wall that many photographers hit during their careers. She just happened to get there two years into obtaining her degree in photojournalism.

Greeson shares her experience in a very real and raw tumblr entry. It’s a lengthy piece, but well worth your time. She speaks to the low points, about how she is working to balance and evaluate her own process and photographs.

A few excerpts, republished with permission:

  • Context matters. The people we admire, they’ve been where we are. They have paid their dues. Some of them just have pure talent. Envy is one of the seven deadly sins for a reason.
  • I took my work so personally that I linked being a great photographer with being great human being.
  • While it’s okay to have big goals, we should focus on our current victories. Side-note, someone is always going to hate your work. Get over it. 
  • Let go of the standardized success ruler. You will not create your best work that way and you will find yourself smothered in a comfort bubble.
  •  I have been taught the opposite but I am going to put my mom’s birthday over shooting an assignment. I am going to put the same effort into photographing my family and friends.

 

Brittany Greeson is a senior photojournalism major at Western Kentucky University. She is currently an intern for The Roanoke Times and will be studying at The Danish School of Media and Journalism this fall. You can find her portfolio here.

Image used with permission.

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4 Comments

Ralph Berrett's picture

Photojournalism out all the photo professions is the one in which you have the most creative freedom, but you also have the longest hours with the lowest pay. With 4 years of college you are looking at a $35,000 a year job. The two biggest issues facing a young photojournalist is getting hired and corporate/office politics.

The best publications to work for are family owned not corporately owned because they weather the economic storms and still value the photojournalism.

Photojournalism is the most creative and emotional rewarding, but it is also the most tasking in hours, financially, family and personally.

In my career I have flown in military jets, been to the NFL playoffs and seen more death, pain and suffering than I care to remember. I wish her luck and hope she enjoys the work at least half as much as I do.

Josh Newell's picture

As a WKUPJ, this is awesome to see! I think it'd be great if we saw more photojournalism related content here at Ftsoppers.

Daniele Zedda's picture

amazing pictures, her website is truly inspirational (to me at least).
Cheers.