There are so many quotes and phrases that summarise what I want to say in this post but the themes are the same; stepping out of your comfort zone, leaving behind the familiar, taking a step of faith into the unknown and feeling the fear and doing it anyway.
Looking back, I don’t know why I waited so long. I’ve been taking photographs for years and have always been pleased with the positive feedback I’ve received.
Surely this alone would have given me the impetus to step out make Faithful Imagery more ‘official’? I knew what I wanted to do – create a Facebook page, create an Instagram account, get business cards printed and even design a website and begin marketing myself but, I was paralysed.
In hindsight, I see that I was crippled with fear, self-doubt and perhaps the biggest enemy of all: comparison. I was scared of my images not being received well, I was scared of criticism. I became all too aware of the skills and photography techniques that I lacked and anxiously worried that I wasn’t good enough. I reasoned that there were thousands of other photographers who were better than me, who had thousands of Instagram followers and brilliant skills. I was aware that I didn’t have it all together; that I didn’t have all the kit and the proper editing software. I also found myself comparing my work to that of other people’s. In writing this, I am aware that I am not alone but thankfully, I didn’t stay here.
They push forward with their craft despite their feelings instead of being paralyse by them.
Encouragement comes from so many different places. Other than timely encouragement from my family and close friends, further encouragement came from Youtube; more specifically a series of videos called The Hollywood Roundtable, a daily vlogger who calls himself The Pointless Blog and a photographer called Ray Collins (follow the links below to see what I’m talking about). The Hollywood Roundtable features high profile figures in the Hollywood film industry who sit and talk about their craft. It was deeply insightful because it made you realise how human, vulnerable and insecure these people were. Composers behind cinema’s most iconic film scores spoke with a beautiful honesty about the deep fears they face when scoring a film and presenting it to a director. These artists have been in the industry for decades and yet they still face this. I realised that this doesn’t necessarily go away, they just work and overcome it. They push forward with their craft despite their feelings instead of being paralyse by them.
The Pointless Blog (as well as other vloggers) made me realise that EVERYONE starts somewhere with what little they have. Now he’s a popular Youtuber with millions of subscribers, expensive kit and his own brand of merchandise, but 7 years ago he was just a teenage boy in his bedroom with a cheap video camera. His beginnings were humble but that didn’t stop him stepping out.
My style will grow and develop over time and with experience and that too is ok.
Lastly, Ray Collins. I can say with utmost honesty that I have never seen anything like his photographs in my life. He specialises in the sea and his work is truly breath-taking. I am convinced that the sea listens and responds to him because I have no other way to explain how he creates such powerful and evocative images. Ray Collins however didn’t start like this. It took years to develop his style to the way it is now and I have no doubt that his journey was filled with challenges and disappointments. Once again, not having it all figured out didn’t stop him from stepping out and learning and growing as he stepped out, took risks, failed and embraced the challenges that he faced.
So with all this being said, what can I learn? I have learned that feeling afraid is normal and even ok. It’s what I do with that fear that really matters. I can either step out of my comfort zone and face new opportunities and challenges or I can remain still and never know what could have been. I learned that I don’t have to ‘have it all’ in order to get started. The most important thing is actually getting started; no matter how rough things may be. I have also learned that it’s ok not to have it all figured out right now. My style will grow and develop over time and with experience and that too is ok.
I have also learned that comparison is the stealer of joy. I can’t take credit for that quote but I fully appreciate its meaning. I can’t shoot like Ray Collins or other established image creators but I can shoot like Faithful Imagery and that is more than ok. I just need to avert my comparing eyes from other people and set my focus on developing Faithful Imagery’s style.
Until the next time