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12/11/16
Top 4 Discontentments within Photography TODAY

Our definition of photographer’s discontentment: restless aspiration for improvement.

Top 4 Discontentments within Photography TODAY

Whether you have just begun taking photographs or are an old-timer, discontentment tends to rear its ugly head from time to time.

Photography is an incredibly engaging activity but also a very lonely place, with much intense study of imagery, numbers and statistics.

We live in a fast-paced environment and photographers are eager for great results.

But what can this all lead to? Discontentment.

Here are our ‘Top Four’ reasons for discontentment that we come across time and time again.

  1. You feel your equipment isn’t good enough

Students invariably want to invest in the best equipment, but how? It is a difficult question to answer. What lens should you have, what camera body? Nikon, Canon, Fujifilm, Panasonic?

The answer I always give is, it depends two things: what job you are about to do and what feels right for you the individual. Take hold of the camera. How does it feel in your hand? Do you want a light pop-in-your-pocket camera or an interchangeable-lenses camera?

For example, if you are a wedding photographer, you will need a wide angle, a telephoto, a macro and a 50mm. But if you are a street photographer, you may want a wide-angle 28mm, 35mm or 50mm. Or maybe you are a landscape photographer, in which case you will want a wide angle but possibly also a telephoto lens.

It is about your voice, your language and, as I am sure you have heard, your style. I suggest that students rent a number of lenses. There are deals out there allowing you to rent equipment for a weekend for price of just one day. Go out, photograph, and look and see what focal length category you fall into.

  1. You think you don’t get enough social media attention

Don’t seek external affirmation seek internal affirmation. Often it will be the viewer’s mood will make the difference as to whether they can relate to your image or not. Viewers project their personal feelings onto you. So, as the photographer, you must be honest to the energy of the moment and subject matter. Firstly, this integrity will be present in the image and, secondly, you won’t care how many likes, or dislikes come your way. You will be content in yourself and your work.

  1. You compare your work to others

This is a tricky one. Oh it is so difficult to not look at your contemporaries and I would be lying if I said not everyone did it. It is natural but it can send you down a sticky spiral. Ever hear the saying, “The grass is always greener on the other side?” Everyone has to make choices based on their own personality and work towards their own goals. Try and keep your head down, work hard and create images. Learn from the masters.

  1. You don’t always feeling inspired

Chuck Close said “The advice I like to give young artists, or really anybody who’ll listen to me, is not to wait around for inspiration. Inspiration is for amateurs; the rest of us just show up and get to work. If you wait around for the clouds to part and a bolt of lightning to strike you in the brain, you are not going to make an awful lot of work. All the best ideas come out of the process; they come out of the work itself. Things occur to you. If you’re sitting around trying to dream up a great art idea, you can sit there a long time before anything happens. But if you just get to work, something will occur to you and something else will occur to you and something else that you reject will push you in another direction. Inspiration is absolutely unnecessary and somehow deceptive. You feel like you need this great idea before you can get down to work, and I find that’s almost never the case.”

It’s all in the process. Enjoy the process.

At the London Institute of Photography, you’ll learn the craft and the art.