Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Never give up on your photography!

Never give up on your photography!
A rallying cry which I often see from others and say myself to those who think that their work isn't good enough. I can not begin to tell you all how many times I have heard someone say "I am just not good at this, I should sell all my camera equipment", or "I get no comments, no favs, no feedback on my work, it sucks". If anything we are blind to out own work, we never see it as others do and never will. When I was majoring in illustration, my illustration professor taught me a little trick. See, when you are drawing, the problem of not seeing how your work looks in your own eyes is compounded. Our creative brain literally needs refreshing and sitting working on a drawing or painting takes it toll. The same is said for photography, not only when shooting but editing as well. What I was taught from my professor is after about 30 minutes, rotate the canvas or paper a full 180 degrees. get up, walk away, take a 10 minute break and come back and look at it. Mistakes are more pronounced when it is flipped upside down and refreshing the left side of the brain works to notice things in far greater detail, things like mistakes which you may have missed earlier on.

Remember, we should be shooting for ourselves first and foremost. For our own enjoyment. These days many people post their photography online. From personal websites to huge communities like deviantART and flickr. All in hopes of learning more and bettering themselves as a photographer. Sadly, many times these sites also have a profound impact on the people who are just starting out with harsh comments which helpful and people believing that because nobody comments on their work, it is therefore bad. WAKE UP! It greatly disturbs me that people honestly feel this way in that they give value to something so completely superficial. This mentality didn't exist 10-15 years ago. Then, people learned photography not by posting it online but by actual education of reading books, taking classes, joining local art and camera clubs and last, reading their manual. Sure these days some of these same principles apply however in this electronic age, everyone online is an "expert" it seems and i have seen many people who have put their camera down only to never pick it up again because of comments someone has said to them and this makes me incredibly sad...

Look, everyone wants a little pat on the back, a little boost in their ego, I get that, I imagine most get that but there will come a time when you move on if you really decide to chase things with your photography. We all do, we all move forward, we all evolve. In moving on we grow as artists and as photographers, we stop putting so much value into what our fellow photographers think and what some "expert" on the internet thinks of our work and start to concentrate more on what the general public thinks. Your fellow photographers won't be the ones buying your prints to hang above their fireplaces. Sure it does happen but let's be realistic, they have their own body of work. Who will be buying your images is those who truly love and support your work, those who accept it for what it is and those who think what it is you do is nothing short of beautiful. If you are one of the types I mentioned above who values what kind of feedback you receive online on a website community, you WILL get there. If you keep at it. Growth is bound to happen, as sure as the sun will rise. It does take time though and you need to patient.

One of the things I learned in my photography classes while in art college was something my teacher said. "Shoot as much as you can. If you put the camera down for a week, it is like not shooting for 2 months". Now think about that for a minute, nobody ever got ahead because stopped building their house, nobody ever got ahead because they stopped their race car half way through the race. If you want to get better you have to work at it. Chase it. Want it. Strive for it. Immerse yourself in it and it will happen all the more quicker.

These days I concentrate more on reaching the general public with my work, through my facebook photography page  where the majority aren't my fellow photographer but clients and potential clients. People who may not be artistic yet like my work for what it is. People who support me as a photographer and you my friend will get there too. It just takes time. No matter what the haters say, keep practicing and keep at it, you are in this for yourself after all.

Geneva Creek cuts through the colorful Aspen forest at the height of Autumn in Colorado. 
John De Bord Photography © 2012 


  1. This was really inspiring. Thank you, John.

  2. I'm not pursuing any sort of career in photography, but your words hold true for any artistic pursuit. History is filled with artists who overcame self-doubts and harsh criticism. (I will probably hate Picasso till my dying day, but look at what fame his work has achieved!)

    Though we all love comments like "Great work!", criticism (good or bad) is only as relevant as it is useful to our improvement.

    We might get discouraged about receiving no notice, but if you love what you do, who cares?? The things we love are precious because we love them, not because others love them.

    And if making a career at it seems impossible given public reception, do it anyway. Scrap by at some other job if you must. But never let go of your passion.

  3. Thank You for this.. I am my worst critic.. I look at my fellow photographers photo's and I end up comparing her work to mine and it just depresses me. I am one of those that don't get many comments or likes on my photography, but I love what I do and will continue.. Thank You again John!!

  4. I often used to dwell on what others said about my work, with critiques and lack of comments, likes and +1's etc, but in the end, you are your best judge of whether the image is good or not... If you are happy with your work, then that's all that matters!! Photography/Art is very subjective, but not right or wrong. Thanks for posting this John!