Not recognition but confirmation
2023, July 22
I'm at that frustration point again ... what do I really want, both in my final images as in how I want to make them.
Instead of just having fun and doing it, somehow I keep getting pulled back into the tedious loupe of wanting recognition for it.
But hopefully there appears to be a kind of different awareness to me.
About six months ago I started writing down who I am and what I want. This really helped me a lot to identify myself and it helped me also in my selection process. Which images work for me and which don't. I update my wordings every now and then because choosing the right words is important.
Concerning this annoying urge of recognition, I think I've always used the wrong word, recognition.
Because if you want recognition, it means that you naturally want others to judge your work well.
But this word is maybe wrong, I need to use the word confirmation.
You want confirmation that what you do matters. 
That makes it a lot easier. If your confirmation for good work depends on, for example, likes and followers. Then you should start posting cat pictures on social media.
If the confirmation for good work is that it makes you happy and that maybe a certain group of people, and that could be a small niche within your kind of photography style, also qualifies it as good work. Then you got your confirmation that it matters what you do.
I also misjudged recognition for work in contest entries. If you are nominated or win, it gives a great feeling. But is it really appreciated or does your photo simply meet a certain number of criteria that a jury uses in the assessments?
This week I happened to talk to a jury member who said to me, you say that a photo has to do something to you. But feeling cannot be measured during a competition. You have to have criteria to judge that photo, you have to be able to measure something. So the photo is judged. Not the feeling that the image gives you. Otherwise it will be very difficult to judge photos in competitions. To be honest, that gave me a completely different insight. So you shouldn't get that recognition from competitions at all. So don't worry if you don't win. It doesn't mean your photo was bad.

Lately I've been shooting with a lot of different type of street photographers in some photowalks. And each time I think I need to do it differently again. 
I doubt my own shooting style. I doubt whether the images might look better if I make them differently, both with gear and in the approach.
I know I shouldn't see it in that way. I don't have to rule things out either. I like Asian food but that doesn't mean I want or have to eat it every day or at any meal.
Let me try to summarize my current feeling what I want to make:

I want to be in the moment, not from a distance and preferably very close. However, I don't want to be seen, I'm not part of the scene. I don't care about pin sharp images (even though pixel peeping anyway, why?). I don't want to be busy with the perfect setup in composition or any other rule.
I don't really want to freeze the moment, even if you kind of do, it just has to continue in a motion, including my own.
I don't want to just record things for registering.

Let's assume I'm hitting the streets now with my telelens. As beautiful as that lens is, I'm already going to shoot differently and get different results than what I'm looking for. With that I never get my own satisfaction from the image that I want to make. So the confirmation of a good image as I want to see it is not achieved. Regardless of whether it might be a very good photo. It doesn't work for me.

To have your own style and consistency, it might be good to use a fixed favourite meal (approach/gear) and maybe fine tune this so now and then. 
But don't hold on to it if it doesn't work either. If you're not happy with your images from yesterday, try something else today. Everyday is cart blanche!

Ah well ... this was just some self help medication in writing today ... probably writing about this same topic soon again. 
It's all common sense, not common practise ... maybe some day!
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