Don’t cave to social pressure. Photograph everything.

When I first began learning photography, I photographed everything. A bottle cap, a blade of grass, an old newspaper…you get the idea. I was just so excited to take pictures and apply the things I was learning that I would turn any subject into a photo op.

Fast forward a number of years (to the Social Age) and instead of photographing anything and everything, I tried to only photograph “interesting” things. I started curating my images before I’d even taken them.

Instead of playing around with a subject to see what I could create, I automatically decided it wouldn’t be good enough and skipped it all together. It took several more years before I realized that being “good enough” was a completely subjective term – one I needed to define for myself rather than letting others do it for me.

I absolutely fell into the social media comparison trap, trying to make the images I thought others wanted to see. Not only did I lose authenticity in my art, but I also lost the spark that kept me shooting. The result is that I’d put my camera down for months at a time. Not only was I not shooting anything “interesting,” I wasn’t shooting anything at all.

Maybe it’s a necessary process that we need to walk through in order to come out on the other side with a clearer perspective. Maybe it’s impossible to avoid the comparison trap. I do feel it brought me full circle, back to the place of finding joy in just making a photograph, regardless of the subject.

Sometimes, I think I’m happiest when I’m making photos of my own backyard.

Published by Lea Hartman

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