Many wise people have said in the past— true wisdom is knowing yourself, not others.
We spend a lot of time studying others. Studying the success of millionaires. Studying the intelligence of scholars. Studying the skills of musicians, photographers, and athletes.
But what if we learned to study ourselves instead? To study our own desires, our own wants, our own hopes, anxieties, fears, and sources of happiness?
For me, I’ve used photography as a tool to better understand myself. To understand how I feel about the world, society, and others.
I also use blogging and writing as a way for self-examination. To really learn about what I truly think and believe in. To learn my own personal history. To write my own inner-thoughts. To reflect on my personal values. To build my own inner-code of ethics.
Why do we keep studying other photographers, when they are totally different from us?
Shouldn’t we inspect ourselves, our own motivations, and make photos who reflect who we are?
Photograph your own life. Photograph what is personal to you. Do it in a way which is faithful to you. Shoot in a way that feels right to you.
Don’t look at others for advice or their opinion. Rather, ask your own conscience.
Do you like your own photos? Do your photos say anything about yourself? Do your photos empower yourself, and bring you personal satisfaction and joy?
Do your photography make you more confident, brave, and courageous? Does your photography relieve stress and anxiety from your life? What does photography mean to you — not to anybody else?
Study yourself, motivations and your own reasons for making photos.
Make your photos personal, and also keep studying to learn who you are as a human being.
Do you know who you are? If not, continue to explore your motives, your inner-thoughts, and don’t feel the need to share it with others. Journal, reflect, and inspect yourself.
Then live a life faithful to your beliefs.
How to know yourself
Here are some things I’ve done, which have helped me:
- Stop reading biographies: It is good to read biographies of rich and successful people, but they will never teach you your own personal biography.
- Keep a personal blog: Share your personal thoughts. This can be public or private.
- Spend less time on social media: Social media is great to connect with others, but horrible to understand who you are. Spend less time on social media to connect with yourself.
Learn more: Personal Photography 101 >