A member recently told me something that really hit me really hard, so I wanted the first blog post to address that. Statistics show if one person feels that way, there is a pretty good chance others do too. Today I want to talk about “INTIMIDATION“.
With my brief time with the club, I have seen some members come and some members go. I have seen pro-level work and beginner level work. I want everyone to know I am not trying to be an end-all/be-all of photography, nor have I ever intentionally tried to assert myself as such. In all seriousness, I am nobody. I am not even a blip on the radar in the photographic community. I don’t have a name, I don’t have a reputation, I don’t have a following. That being said, this post is only meant as some insight on to how I look at things and is merely my opinion, agree or not.
Never have I known anyone to directly try and intimidate anyone in the club. I know I have personally jumped in and tried to help, or set something up I can see in my head which may have been seen like I was taking over, or that I didn’t feel like others could do it as well as I could. This could not be farther from the truth. If I have made you feel that way, I apologize, that never was my intent.
The truth is, my work sucks. That’s just how I feel. I still am just beginning, and at times feel like I should just give up. I get super excited when I go out and do a shoot, get the photos edited, and off to the client. A week later I look back and I don’t like what I see. I start picking apart everything and really getting down on myself, and I feel like a failure and that I should just give up and start over. I am not someone who, in my opinion should be intimidating anyone.
What’s the point of that rant? Well, much like that member, I also am intimidated by members of the club. We have a huge talent pool, and there are some fantastic images as a result. It’s hard not to look at them and say “Man I wish I would have thought of that”, “What a great photo I wish mine was that good”, or “Geez I wish I had that gear”. It can all be very intimidating. Looking at someone who has invested thousands of dollars into lenses and gear, and at best we have a kit lens and a used third-party lens we almost want to feel ashamed of. I bet everyone has experienced that feeling when looking through the monthly subjects or when the gear starts to come out, getting the feeling like not submitting their image because they don’t feel it’s good enough or not participating because they are embarrassed of what they are shooting with. Let me tell you, your images are good enough, and so is your gear.
Just shoot. Don’t be so preoccupied with what your shooting, or how you feel someone else’s image is better than yours. Just shoot. Shoot for yourself and just let it happen. I get nervous every time I go out to do a monthly subject, or any shoot I am on for that matter. It gets to the point where I am trying to force creativity. Why? Because I am always intimidated from previous months contest winners and when I start seeing the images people are uploading for the monthly contest. I still feel like other members have more talent than I do, and to this day I am still intimidated by members of our club, but it doesn’t stop me from shooting. We can’t live in the shadow of fear and Intimidation, or we are going to fail, if you let it consume you.
Some may have noticed I haven’t been participating in monthly subjects lately. The creativity of all our members has me on the fence between intimidating and inspiration… it’s very easy to get tipped to one side or the other. It’s something I struggle with every month, and is very easy to get tipped into the dark hole of being intimidated to the point of not participating. I Feel like I failed or that I just am not good enough. On the flip side the weird thing about intimidation is that it can lead to inspiration….What????
Intimidation can be a good thing. I know it sounds weird, but hear me out. It forces us to try and do better…to think outside the box. It helps get those creative juices flowing, in the hopes we can get to the same level or even surpass those that intimidate us. We can use it to take a whole different direction and push our bounds to something amazing. Feed off it, harness it, and use it. Make it your own and run with it. Don’t let the fear of failure hold you back from a jump to success.
The fact is, “Intimidation” can suck if we let it. Don’t let it. Don’t let it take away from the photographer you are, or want to be. Intimidation can be a driving force to take our images to the next level or it can be a crippling handicap if you let it. If you want to be intimidated, don’t be intimidated by me or any other member of the club. Be intimidated by some amazing photographers like: Ansel Adams, Richard Avedon, Jay Maisel, Annie Leibovitz, Helmut Newton, Henri Cartier-Bresson, David LaChapelle, Zack Arias, Joe McNally, Peter Hurley, Frank Doorhof…the list goes on and on. They are the ones to be intimidated by, they are some of the greats. They have a name, a reputation, a following. They are HUGE blips on the radar….but they all started somewhere, and if I had to bet…they were all in our shoes once, thinking the same things we do, being intimidated by others around them. Instead of letting it handicap them, they used it to propel themselves to greatness. Which really is the whole point of these odd ramblings I guess….Everyone in our club has the ability to be great. Some are working towards its, some might already be there. The point is, rather than be intimidated by everyone, approach them, talk to them. Let them share their experiences and worries. We are all there to help one another along the way. I haven’t run into anyone yet where if you ask them how they did something they won’t tell you.
We are a club. The Hutchinson Photography Club. As a club we owe it to ourselves and our members to be the best we can be. To allow people to come in and take a little something away to further them along their photographic path. Come to share, come to learn, come to be something fun, exciting, and inspirational. Some of us were where you are right now. Some of us are where you are right now. The point is we should all be working together to better ourselves and the people around us. Sometimes it just might take a question or a comment to get that ball rolling. Don’t let intimidation stop you from talking to someone that might just be able to help.
Be intimidated by the past to be the intimidation for the future.