Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Thinking Space

I wanted to take some time off this morning to think. I have a pretty packed day ahead - not necessarily stressful, but just a series of places to be (and let's be honest, I still haven't gotten around to having breakfast yet). But I was editing and tweaking this new blog template, and at the same time, I was thinking to myself - why haven't I posted anything here lately?

When I started this blog, I made a commitment that I would only post if I had produced photography that was worth displaying and talking about. Of course, these guidelines are very vague. How do I justify that my images are good - somebody else might disagree. And how do I know that it's worth talking about? (I don't publicise my work very often, so I don't hear about it from others, certainly). But I also realised that the important thing isn't necessarily what I think these guidelines - of good and worthwhile photography - are, but rather that I set them for myself and I change them accordingly, so long as I am always growing.

I haven't really thought that deeply about me and photography - this relationship we have. I'm always working on photography, I like to think. I'm not necessarily making big leaps between subject matter (I still find landscapes a mystery and challenging), but I try to get better at this process of capturing people.
The thing is I can make these claims to myself, but I rarely look back and really recognise the progress that I've made. I literally don't do this thing where I go back to the beginning of my blog archive and compare. I literally don't do this, so I never fully get this sense that I've made progress. But I know I have and it feels good to recognise that.

The next stage of this thought process is the self-doubt. I struggle to take myself seriously as a photographer. I say I take photos, but I'm not a photographer. I am a photography intern. I am a student with a photography portfolio. I am not (yet) a photographer.
But the thing is, when will this 'yet' - this moment where I decide I am worthy of being a photographer happen? Do I need to be published in print? Do I need to exhibit? How dedicated to photography must I be - does it have to be my career and not something on the side?

Alice introduces me to people as a 'fashion photographer'. She is literally the only person who does this and yet she gives me a sense of validation - just one person telling me that I am a photographer makes me believe it - even if it's just for a moment. That's pretty powerful.

But I also know that it's problematic to look to external sources of validation and acceptance. Self-love and confidence and belief should come from within. I should think that I'm a photographer inside, before I believe it from other people. So that's the question I'm facing. Do I believe that I'm a photographer? Or am I just hesitant about what it looks like - that I might think of myself as a photographer, and really, I'm being silly. Honey, who do you think you are?

I'm whoever I goddamn want to be.

That should be the answer, but for whatever reason, I'm not there yet.

Have a good day, kids.
M. x
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