Have You Been Crippled by Self-Doubt as a Photographer?

Have you ever held back from sharing your photos, pitching an idea, or showcasing your art? How many times have you let impostor syndrome hold you back?

Impostor Syndrome is the feeling or experience of thinking that you or your job may not be good enough. It’s this hesitation that you often encounter when presenting your work or even introducing yourself. This often comes from a lack of self-confidence or simply the fear of making a mistake. The experience has been dubbed “impostor syndrome” because the feeling stems from a fear of being portrayed as an impostor: someone who just pretends to be good at something but is unworthy of respect, rewards, or simply unworthy of being called an artist. .

1. Impostor Syndrome Happens to Everyone

The first thing you need to know is that it happens to everyone. Impostor Syndrome is very common among creatives and artists from different fields. Painters, actors, musicians, dancers and yes, even photographers suffer from impostor syndrome. In fact, it’s not at all exclusive to artists. Technically, anyone can experience this through lack of confidence and doubt. The difference is that everyone experiences impostor syndrome in different ways and for varying lengths of time, and similarly, we all deal with it differently.

Imposter Syndrome can strike anywhere and everywhere. This usually happens during the creative process and just as we are about to display, showcase, or publish our work. However, it can also happen in totally unexpected places at unexpected times. As it goes without saying that you are passionate about the things you create and think about them anywhere, it follows that your fears, worries and doubts can also arise at any time.

2. Impostor Syndrome Is Completely Normal

Self-doubt and questioning our work stems from things that are part of human nature as well as aspects of our nature as artists. Curiosity usually fuels our creativity by giving us ideas of what to create next and naturally the desire to be better at what we do follows. Many people suffer from impostor syndrome when they look at other people’s work and compare their own. If it is always more productive to be inspired by artists that we admire, it is quite natural to compare and even to feel a little envy. When we compare ourselves to others and their work, we overlook the unseen struggles behind their masterpieces. The same way portfolios, exhibitions, and even Instagram feeds are organized, most of the time we also don’t see the struggle behind the successful artist who would have been more relevant to us in the first place.

3. You can’t please everyone (and you shouldn’t try to)

It is important to understand and accept that different people have different artistic tastes. The same way some people don’t like certain cuisines, you can’t expect literally every person to be impressed with what you make. Different people live different lives and ultimately form different opinions. What matters is that you can identify the people who connect with the work you do and the art you create.

You will certainly be criticized. This is another fact that every artist should always accept. People who look at our photographs always form an opinion, and many people like to say what they think. There are people who give constructive criticism because they mean well and would like you to become an even better artist, while there are also people who just want to put people down to feel better about their own defaults. It’s important to put them aside so you can learn the lessons you need to learn and identify the things you need to work on while you put aside and filter out the noise.

Remember, it’s better to focus on the quality of the connection your art makes with the people looking at it, rather than the amount of people just peeking and tapping. twice.

On the other side of the table, it’s also important to consider this fact when talking about other artists or their work. Don’t forget to check the validity of your opinion to see if it applies. Sometimes we tend to impose our personal tastes or style on others to the point of expressing our dislike. Remember that what you do and say to a creative colleague can have a strong impact on them, and you don’t want to be the reason someone else quits. Constructive criticism can go a long way.

4. Impostor syndrome can be healthy and help you grow

Experiencing impostor syndrome can be painful. In fact, pain and impostor syndrome can be very similar in the impact they have. While most of us are afraid of feeling pain, it would be so much worse if we never felt pain at all. Pain is a warning sign that can often prevent us from doing harmful things or, at the very least, help us identify that there is something wrong.

Imposter syndrome works the same way. The doubt you feel can often remind you to be more thorough about the intricate details of your art. Questioning yourself can often give you a warning that there might be something to improve. As long as you don’t let the experience of impostor syndrome paralyze you and keep you from moving forward, it can be very healthy for you as an artist and can even help you grow.

5. Perfection can be a prison

The only time impostor syndrome can be harmful is when we let it imprison us. Usually it hits when we seek perfection in our work so much that we end up throwing things away when we can’t achieve it. There is absolutely nothing wrong with striving for perfection in our work as artists, but it is important to accept, especially when you have only recently begun to learn or try, that imperfection is part of the travel. Most of the best things in the world take time to build, and that also includes the artists we look up to. Being an artist is a continuous cycle of trial, failure, learning and success, and passion and perseverance get us there.

Just as it is important to identify our shortcomings and seek to improve, it is also important to celebrate our victories in the midst of defeats. Every failure has a consolation prize in the form of lessons that will help increase your chances of success in the future. What’s important is that you don’t let a loss or imperfection bring you down permanently.

Every day, millions of people suffer from impostor syndrome due to our natural tendency to compare and aspire. Self-doubt comes from the prudence of anticipating challenges in order to better overcome them. While experiencing impostor syndrome is never a pleasant thing, it’s almost certain that when you think back to the challenges you’ve faced as an artist, all the growth you’ve experienced as a creative and to all the personal victories you have obtained. as a photographer, those brief moments of doubt and hesitation have pushed you and will continue to push you forward in one way or another.

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