Erika Ray Photography » blog

A Simple Photography Rant.

Last week at work, I found myself going through all my old video on Vimeo.  Nothing like getting gushy while sitting in an open work space.

A couple days ago, I was scrolling through my phone looking for prints for a new wall idea in our house.  Each swipe made me love my iPhone.  Each swipe made me love what I did with a little tap.

Throughout the week, I scroll through my 365 and One Second videos and get nostalgic for days that just happened.

Last night, I was looking on my FB pages for some photos to share with a friend who isn’t online.  I spent so much time scrolling through albums, I Benjamin Button’d my kids.  My heart got big and I kept thinking, “Wow.  That’s some good shit.”

And then I thought maybe my admiration was a bit cocky.  Is your own work supposed to make you really happy?  Are you supposed to inspire yourself?  Are you supposed to say, “Woooo!” at your own work?  For a split second, I felt icky.

And then, I said FUCK YEAH I should!

I read about lots of photographers who see their own work and feel that it isn’t as good as So-And-So’s.  I read about photogs who just stop because they can’t/won’t/never will produce good work.  Maybe these photographers are portrait or wedding photographers.  Maybe they have to plan shots and just can’t plan.  I’m going to give them the benefit of the doubt (for a second).  But really, I don’t get this attitude.

How can you look at your own work and think it’s shit?  How?!  You’re shooting your life!  Yes, I’m not the greatest photographer.  Yes, there’s millions who shoot better.  There’s plenty I wish would shoot my life for a couple hours.  But there’s no one, NO ONE, I want being the head shooter.  That job is filled and no one can do it better.  I can only lose this job if I step down.

During every 365, I spend a couple weeks during the year thinking, “Ok.  This is a slumpy period.  I’ll see it and be ok with it.”  And I accept this fate.  It’s the fate of every artist.  During a very recent slump, I was scrolling through ready to recognize said slump, but all I saw were pretty damn amazing photos.  Photos filled with life.

I get caught up in my head.  But give me a couple seconds to review my life and I’m good.  Try it.

Have you put your camera down because of the damn Comparison trap?  Pick it up.  Fuck the trap.  Jump in to it.

Feel slumpy?  Go back to some old albums.  See what you overlooked.  You won’t get fixated on what preset you used.  Or how that was the “old” camera.  But you’ll see chubbier cheeks, shirts that are now too tiny, and you’ll see happiness.

Show me your life as it is.  And see your life as it is.  Don’t spruce it up by cleaning the scene.  Don’t make it nicer with fun catch phrases.  Don’t worry if you can’t write about how long the days are and how short the years are.  It won’t matter if FB masses “Like” it.   It doesn’t matter if strangers say, “Gorgeous!!  How do you do it?!”  Don’t worry if your frames aren’t as everyday as you’d wish.  Don’t worry if you can’t wax on and on about the beautifully boring /ordinary/mundane mess.  And don’t worry if you think that train is a bunch of shit (It is).  If you get out of your own way, taking a good picture is simple.

You take it.

Frame it as is.  Let the frame speak.

All that matter is that you actually do it.

You’ll love it.  Cause it’s your life.

Am I wrong?  Prove it.  I dare you.

 

Photos I felt slumpy during and even thought, “What’s the point?

Now want to kick my dumb ass…

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  • xanthe - Always saying it as it is. Love you Erika. xxxSeptember 16, 2013 – 11:25 amReplyCancel

  • Aimee - Thank you, thank you, a million times thank you, for this! Love it.September 16, 2013 – 11:42 amReplyCancel

  • Cassie - You are such a breath of fresh air!!! I think when I’m in a slump the best thing I can do is have a good Erika Ray read!!!!September 16, 2013 – 10:54 pmReplyCancel

  • My Daily Project – Week 2 » Cat McAteer Photography - […] time with my photography. Then today Erika Ray, one of my favorite photographer/bloggers posted this and I thought “yes – this project is meaningful work”. I mean my really artistic, […]September 17, 2013 – 7:55 amReplyCancel

  • skeller - Erika – this is perhaps the best thing you’ve written (and you’ve written good stuff – so this is high praise!). Good words. Good reminder. Great encouragement.September 17, 2013 – 11:36 amReplyCancel

  • Jaimi - As I’m nearly 12 weeks into a 365 & wondering how I’m EVER going to have enough going on to complete it….. I read your narrative and feel immediately invigorated. I’m busy as shit. How could I not find something “good enough” to photograph everyday!? Thanks a million times over for sharing like you do!!!!September 19, 2013 – 4:54 pmReplyCancel

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