Love Your Photos Like How a Good Parent Would Love Their Child

Love Your Photos Like How a Good Parent Would Love Their Child

It’s imperative for a photographer to love their own work. You wouldn’t ever progress in the craft if you didn’t.

Generally, photographers who have just began their journey as a visual artist tend to love their work more than those who have been in the industry for many years. That’s probably due to the fact that the more experienced ones tend to look closer at more minute details than beginners and would be much more aware of flaws of their photographs in turn. 

It’s a given that one would only showcase work that they are proud of. Showcasing photographs can be in the simplest form of posting on social media, online forums, or even personally sending them to loved ones and it can go as big as presenting them on print media or in an actual gallery exhibit. It would be safe to assume that there’s a certain amount of pride that’s necessary for one photographer to show off their work. That love for your photograph is necessary but you should never love your photos too much. 

When a good parent has a child, they unconditionally love that child. They acknowledge both the good and the bad in that child and love them despite it. But the love of a good parent is not love that is “too much”. Too much love is love that is blinded by the good qualities and intentionally ignores the fixable imperfections. Imagine a parent who would confront their child’s teacher for pointing out and trying to correct certain things. That is the kind of love that you should not be having for your photographs. Experience has taught me that none of my photos are perfect and that there is always room for improvement. Especially as an outdoor photographer, there's only so much I can do to achieve a perfect photograph but it’s important to never let that hinder you from doing your best. 

I’ve personally seen and experienced interacting with photographers online who have that blinded love for their photographs. These are the photographers who constantly get into online quarrels with other photographers for simply giving constructive criticism on their photos on social media. It might be difficult to believe for some but there really are photographers out their who think that they are the best and that no one is entitled to having any negative opinion about their work. Don’t be that person. You’d never want to be stuck in that almost endless loop of too much self-love and barely any skill development. 

This is a photo from a time where I thought that I had already learned what I needed as a landscape photographer. I got some pretty harsh comments from peers that showed me that there's more to be learned and pulled me out of that destructive loop

The worse aspect of loving your photographs too much is actually not the fact that you get into conflicts when your pride is hurt. It’s much bigger than that. What’s toxic about it is the mindset that leads to such a personality. When you can’t take constructive criticism and can’t grow from it, you’re left in a desperate situation where you close all your doors to things that can help you become a better visual artist and in doing so, you hinder yourself from learning.

Remember, there comes a point in the journey of each photographer where learning is entirely dependent on the passion he or she has to become better. There's only so much that photography workshops and online courses can teach you. Many photographers, and I do hope you included, attain a certain point wherein they must take the wheel to seek more learning by experience. This is something you just don’t attain when you dismiss the fact that there is something about your work that can still improve. 

Love your photographs like a good parent. If you had bad parents who spoiled you then love your photographs the way you wish your parents would have loved you. There's a kind of love that is prudent and not destructive and you should treat your photographs with such. It’s never about being the best photographer around. It’s virtually impossible to be the best photographer or at the very least, impossible to be the best photographer for a long time. Your mantra matters and it should always be to seek improvement and never stop learning. 

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1 Comment

Ken Flanagan's picture

good read.
I don't really like any of my photos, but I love the stories behind them.