While browsing through posts of my god-forsaken Google+ profile, murmuring jesus how old is this post and what WAS I thinking back then *delete* *delete*, I came across a photo album I shared close to 3 years ago. I was ready to delete this too, scoffing at my “mediocre attempts at photography” so long ago. But then some kind of magic took place and I decided to take a proper look at these photos…
Surprise! Two minutes in, my mind was overflowing with memories from the trips and situations portrayed, and it went so far as to like a couple of photos very much.
I remembered how proud I was back then of these attempts. I had a little compact camera full of dreams, and I was just discovering the real magic of photography. I was passionate, going to extreme lengths just to photograph something that caught my eye. I didn’t care that I had no professional camera, my mind was free of judgement and my eyes full of wonder. I let my inspiration be my surroundings only – compared to today, where I have followed a ton of photographers on Flickr and I drool over their work, sadfacing because “I can never be that good”.
WHY does it always result to “I can never be that good” these days? Where did inspiration from both external and internal stimuli go? We had this talk with sir Cubilone 1,5 year ago on our first date (or was it second?) – the internet nowadays is way too overwhelming for our brains, my own puny brain included of course. I can never be that good results to why should I even try and you kind of abandon the whole idea of going for what you love. What the hell does “that good” mean? We all have different styles that appeal to different people. If you never try, yes, you will never appeal to anybody.
I feel kind of pretentious writing these lines. I feel like I’m mocking my own self and the people reading it (if any). I feel as if none of this really matters, I’m gonna die one day anyway and who’s gonna remember me and the shit I wrote and did? Well fuck you too, brain, I’m not giving in to your crap anymore. I’m not able to change how rotten this world is and where it’s heading, but I might as well live this crappy life to the fullest. And if nobody cares about this post, then so be it, I care, and I will make my time on Earth worthwhile while I still can.
I’ve spent years worrying about these things. I’ve been through extremely nihilistic phases, but what good does it do? Am I going to live my remaining years surrounded by the cloud of Pointlessness?
Nope. Nope, nope.
Looking at the photos of my younger self, I found that my depleted pool of inspiration was refilled. How many times have I advised people who just now have started, i.e., drawing, to never delete/tear apart/throw away stuff they do because they’re gonna look at it some years of now and be proud? Why can’t I follow my own advice?
I’ve been doing tons of things to try and inspire myself again. The fire has been burning low for years, with only short intervals of creative explosions, which became more and more rare. But I never thought that looking at my old work would give me such an empowering feeling… It’s the same with my drawings. Where did passionate Daphne go? The Daphne that didn’t give a fuck how good other people were? (I believe one of the biggest reasons of my downfall was that in 2010 we started having and internet connection at home.) The Daphne that drew inspiration from within, that saw other artists as equals and not masters who she would never reach? The Daphne that presented her work proudly, but without a speck of egotism or self-doubt?
So what if they have 3, 15, 50 more years of experience? There’s no “patience, you’ll get there sooner or later” for me anymore. By the time you get “there”, “they” will have moved on to something greater – there will always be “someone far greater than you”.
What happened to doing something just for yourself? Almost all of us kind of obsessed with showcasing our work, mostly for getting likes and favourites and all that bullcrap. (exposing your work for getting a job is a different thing, I believe.) You do stuff thinking, oh hey, people are going to like this thing, let’s do it so they can like it. Yay! You add virtual prestige to your online image (kind of related!) and you feel your ego swelling, but are you yourself satisfied with the results of your labour? I am definitely not denying that I am guilty of doing this too, a true victim of internet addiction-which I am slowly changing, by the way. (Remember: Do or not, there is no try.)
Do things for your own sake, look at the stuff you accomplished a while ago, remember how proud you were of them back in the day. They might seem like a load of crap to you (and other people) but look closely, you might find some unexpected diamonds just lying there, waiting for you to grab them and use them to make the finest jewelry possible.
I love photography. I really do. I’m not talented at it, I know that well, and precisely because I know that, I’ve worked hard to achieve what others might do effortlessly. I am proud of my photos, looking back at how I started and what I can do now. Who knew I could shoot a whole film manually and not ruin almost any photo?
[still: people will continue to inspire and amaze me, as it is inevitable. let them flare up my passion.]