Monday, June 9, 2014

Green with Envy — Comparing Yourself to Other Photographers

I love the TV Show "ONCE Upon a Time". Recently, the Wicked Witch of the West has joined the show and we find out how she turned green. It's envy. Every time she was jealous of someone, a little patch of her skin turned green. Patch by patch, her whole body became covered in green. In the show, the first time we see this green creeping envy, it starts on the side of her neck.

I spent my first year as a photographer, sitting behind my computer (even at 3am) surfing through other photographer's websites. I was desperate to learn more and get inspiration from their amazing photos. At first it was an innocent hunt for inspiration but then it became obsession, a sick addiction that made me compare myself to photographers who had been practicing for decades longer than I'd even been alive. It made me feel bad about myself. I stared at the screen wishing I could take pictures like that and write interesting blog posts like they did and even dress as stylishly as all of them seemed to do so naturally.

A couple years into the biz, and I realized something had to change. I was in this nasty cycle of feeling so proud of my own work and then hating on myself because someone else took a pretty picture too. Jealous much? So I cut myself off completely. In early 2013, I stopped following other photographers on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, blogs, etc... I still don't have any idea what they're doing — even my best photography friends. How mysterious my world is now, haha.

It's so refreshing to be floating through life without that nasty comparison breathing down my neck every day. But of course, sometimes it sneaks up on me. I'll accidentally see something that someone else is doing. I'll overhear someone praising another photographer. Whatever it is, sometimes I feel this little fire in my chest and I wouldn't be surprised if green patches were breaking out on my neck. And then the little Tinkerbell on my shoulder gives me a pep talk and calms me down, reminding me to focus on my own thing and be happy for other photographers who are creating beautiful work. use that energy to fuel my own pursuit of artistic greatness rather than letting it suck me into a muddy ditch of jealousy induced creativity death. (I guess I'm feelin' poetic this mornin' lol)

Anywhosie, my encouragement for you today:
stop comparing yourself to others or you'll turn green. ;)