We require our Interns to blog about their photoshoots. The main reason is because it forces them to take another look at their work – and identify aspects of their progress, habits, and things they’d like to continue working on. This sort of open-self-evaluation is really helpful – especially since we’re not making art only for ourselves. In the end we have to satisfy our clients. I think that’s where a lot of us as paid photographers… tend to just chicken out. The insecurity creeps in and overwhelms us. What if they don’t like my work because it’s too different.
Anyone will tell you that you need to balance your artistic vision with what the client wants – and that’s true – except we aim for an imbalance in our favor. One that leans more towards our artistic vision than solely client expectation. Yes. They hire us for consistency, professionalism, and just flat out being able to get the job done without hassle – or excuses.
While I wouldn’t say it takes ‘bravery’ to create work that is both commercially viable yet artistically satisfying – it definitely takes a lot of WORK, and overcoming insecurity. It takes a lot of work to deliver really interesting ‘safe’ shots on a consistent basis. Like a broken record (or scratched CD?) – we tell our interns to not just ‘shoot what’s there’. Heck – I tell them a lot of things. And since I seem to spew advice to them (wanted or not) – I’ve been thinking about my own work lately.
We’re taking on a new group of interns – and although they’re looking to learn from us – they’re all fantastically talented themselves (I’m speaking of the applicants at this point since we’re still accepting submissions until tomorrow at 12pm Noon.)
Being in this position, I’ve started to wonder about my own abilities. Knowing that we’re going to be working with some already very talented photographers that want to learn from us – it’s very easy to over think things and let that insecurity that we all have as artists, take hold and start clawing away at the bit of confidence we should actively be protecting.
I still get a little nervous before every photoshoot. Until I start shooting, I have no idea how things are going to turn out. But I don’t rely on the photos to save me. I give my insecurities space, just a little. I like feeling nervous, it gets mixed in with excitement and as an artist I really think you need to welcome uncontrolled impulses. Especially since so much of our daily lives are often measured and controlled into a grey middle.
Of course – I give my insecurities space in my head because I also beat them into f*cking submission when it comes time to work. When it comes to insecurity, I literally say to myself “F*ck that, I’m going to make some beautiful photos.”
Whether it’s a wedding, a family portrait, or a Chef Demo at the farmer’s market down the street with Top Chef finalist Kevin Gillespie. You have to go into it believing that you’re going to make beautiful photos.