The Joys of Marching to the Beat of Your Own Drummer

prairie, harvest, sunrise, barley, wheat, farm, agriculture, Alberta,Dan Jurak, golden, yellows, golds, horizontal, landscape,

When I looked up the phrase above I was pleasantly surprised.

independent, individualistic, marching to the beat of a different drummer, nonadhering, noncompliant, one’s own sweet way

None of those phrases or words strike me as being negative. Quite the opposite they are positive and encouraging.

It’s funny but oh so predictable that when I search Instagram for photos of Alberta or even look at Travel Alberta’s official Instagram account that the majority of pictures are of mountains.

Oh sure, Alberta has lots of mountains but the vast, vast majority of the province is boreal forest, farmland and open prairie.

This shouldn’t be surprising because if you look at fashion magazines the majority of people in them are very attractive, un-normal models.

The same goes for car magazines, the ones that seem to get the most attention are the ones with the super cars that we can’t afford on the cover.

We don’t pay very much attention to the “normal”.

Thank God for that because for as much as love to visit the mountains, my most satisfying images have come from the most mundane appearing places, the prairies.

As a result and I accept this as a fact of life, I will never get the attention lavished upon me that those who only photograph the glamour places do.

There would seem to be nothing glamorous or exciting about shooting the flatlands of Alberta. Or is there?

There is and always has been for me.

When you march to your own drummer you will not get the attention that others do but after over forty years of taking pictures as an amateur and a professional, I stopped looking for the reassurance that seems to go hand in hand with websites like Instagram.

I came across another really good photog yesterday and was about to follow him until I saw his plea for more followers. Translation… please tell me how good I am because I need to hear it.

There is a young man whose parents probably never gave him enough love and attention when he was growing up.

Right or wrong my mother from a very young age always impressed upon me that I could do anything that I put my mind to and excel at it too.

Here’s the thing, if you can live without needing your ego stroked you are completely free to choose what you do and how you do it. Never feeling the need to please anyone is a liberating thing. Your successes and failures are in your mind. You are in control.

Thank you mom. I hope you are looking down on me and smiling. You were the best teacher ever.

Happy shooting,



~ by Dan Jurak on April 29, 2018.

7 Responses to “The Joys of Marching to the Beat of Your Own Drummer”

  1. Dan, very insightful post. I agree with the sentiment expressed in this post. The only person I have felt I had to satisfy was, and still is, me. I do post to a couple of sites, not looking for the usual “great post” or similar, but looking for comments that can help me grow as a photographer as I don’t believe that is something I can do for me.


  2. What a great image! I have spent time in the prairies and love the changes in the flowers and grasses and the light and shadows with its many moods. I love mountains for the same reason as well as the boreal forests. You have given a lovely ode to your mother here, too.

  3. Thank you Ron. I think that if you are true to your heart that you will always be headed in the right direction. Posting can be a good thing because it not only exposes you to others but others to you. The more fluid we are in how we create the better.


  4. Thank you Jane. The prairies are drop dead gorgeous but often times the beauty is not obvious. That is exactly why I enjoy photographing them whereas in Jasper or Banff it stands out in front of you.


  5. I find that self doubt is virtually universal among my artist friends. I have not been immune to it either, but am past it now, for the most part. I don’t know that poor parenting is the cause. It may have something to do with the fact that art is a very competitive thing with gatekeepers judging and rejecting at every turn. But you are definitely right to thank your parents if you are free of the plague of self doubt.

  6. Well put Curtis. We all have doubt at least I believe that we do. A little bit of that is a good thing I think.

    When I first started taking pictures I sought out reassurance. Forty years later and having had my work published and seen by literally millions of people over the years the novelty of wow and fantastic don’t mean as much to me as the feeling I get when I know that I have done something that I love.

    Thank you for taking the time to visit and post,

  7. I agree, Dan. Affirmation from others can’t compare with a creative success. But I know a lot of artists that would kill for some affirmation!

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