Finding happiness on the internet as a photographer

barley, harvest, landscape, Dan Jurak, farm, rural, wheat, crops, autumn, sunset, dramatic

The old saying goes that the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence.

Sometimes it is. Most times it isn’t. It’s just an illusion.

I can be as guilty as anyone when it comes to that saying. It’s too easy to look at one of the hundreds of millions of photos on the internet and feel sick with envy or jealousy. Why can’t I do anything like that I have said before.

Did you get the first part of the previous paragraph? One photo of the hundreds of millions out there. What about the other 99.9% of the images that I have conveniently ignored?

Another old saying goes that even a blind squirrel finds a nut every once in a while.

Take a look at a photographers body of work before starting to make any kind of comparison to yourself. There is a time for comparisons and then there is a time that you must stop that exercise in futility and frustration.

I found an absolutely fantastic photo a few days ago and was floored by it. Curious, I went to the photographers website to see what other gems I could find. Could they all be this great? The short answer is or rather was, no.

All the elements and conditions had converged to create the perfect landscape. There was more luck than skill in creating that image. Nothing wrong with that but it needs to be remembered that when shooting landscapes luck is as important as creativity and skill.

When I was shooting in the studio quite a bit I mentored a few students from the local photography college. They were paired with me for a few days to see how things were done. In the studio doing still life photography luck plays less of a role than skill. In the studio the photographer unless they are photographing models is in 100% control of EVERYTHING.

I learned early on when I was doing fashion that a great model can make even the least talented photographer look fantastic. And the opposite is also true. With some people more work is required to get the “perfect” shot. Same photographer in both cases but different results.

The same can be said for landscape photography. Right now it is windy outside, the skies are perfectly clear and the sun is high above the horizon. From past experience I know that I am certain to be wasting my time to go out and shoot landscapes. So you have to be somewhat lucky but it also helps greatly if you can load the odds in your favour.

Lots, perhaps too many of us get caught up in the game of “likes” and “loves”. As if the number of positive comments on your photography is a validation of your work. It isn’t.

Just because someone likes their coffee really strong and sweet does that mean because you like weakly brewed coffee black that they are right and you are wrong? The same applies to the likes and loves.

Have you ever seen a dog chase its tail? That’s the game that is being played by catering to the masses and trying to curry favour.

When I was a young and single men I used to spend a fortune on clothes. Too much money I spent. I was caught up in how I looked. Did anyone really care if I wore jeans to work or expensive slacks? Probably not and if they did would it have made my life any better or happier? Doubtful.

Today I can wear shorts and a t-shirt all summer. My hair is thinning and I don’t hide it. My daughter says that I have the starting of a pot belly and it only matters to me not out of vanity but because I want to stay healthy. You see a long time ago I really stopped caring about what people think about what I do or who I am. As long as I can remain true to myself and not cause harm or hurt to others all is good.

The world doesn’t need a most popular photographer. There are too many already and it is doubtful that they are ever truly happy because they are too busy chasing their tails like the proverbial dog.

The best judge of your photography is guess who? YOU!!!

God has made us all unique and if you don’t believe in a higher power whatever it is that is that we are is different than every other person on this planet.

Cherish your difference. Cherish your uniqueness. There is only one of you and don’t be afraid to show it to the world.

Happy shooting,

Dan

~ by Dan Jurak on September 10, 2017.

8 Responses to “Finding happiness on the internet as a photographer”

  1. Always … always great insight into what
    makes us … us
    Once we are comfortable in where we
    are only then can we move on and grow
    as true individuals- who happen to enjoy photography
    Thanks Dan

  2. Glad you take the time to inject a little common sense into this mess we call photography.
    I take lots of shots and have for 50 years, entered one in a Richardson Pioneer calendar contest last year and won second place. Did that just to see if anyone else thought it was a nice picture, not to feed my ego. There are hundreds of thousands of photos being put out on social media ever day and mostly by people looking for attention. To each his own I guess.
    Lot’s of chaff and not much wheat, enough of that.
    I enjoy your blog very much, I have quite a few sites book marked and your’s is at the top.

    Regards
    Dave

  3. Hi Dave,
    Firstly thank you for the kind words.

    Secondly, congratulations on the contest. All of us like the positive attention once in a while it is good for the soul. I do like the way you responded to it. That says so much about being confident in ones self.

    Again thank you for the kind words,

    Dan

  4. I agree with you as far as the “like” game goes. If that was the case, I would have given up posting a long time ago with what little attention I get for my images, lol. I do it because I love the creativity of it all and like being part of the collective community (of photographers and the human race. 🙂

    I mostly compare my images to my previous images, hoping always that they are improving. I do learn from those who are better than me but never do I feel jealous. I may get frustrated with myself for not being able to master a certain technique or acquire a certain skill as quickly as I would like or figure out how that person achieved that result, but that just motivates me to keep seeking knowledge and to try even harder.

    I recently started a portrait photography business and while my portraits aren’t perfect, people are paying me for them, so that is validation enough for me now. And like I said, I am obsessively trying to improve my skills everyday.

  5. Wonderful thoughts Sheila.

    Creativity comes from inside. Inspiration from outside.

    Dan

  6. Great words of wisdom, and, landscape composition. Thanks for sharing!

  7. Thank you C.S. You are very welcome.
    Dan

  8. […] Finding happiness on the internet as a photographer – Dan Jurak […]

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