The more consistent you’re in your photography, the less motivation you will have to make new photos:
Just shoot anything and everything which interests you — don’t always feel like you must stay “consistent” in photography.
This is why I think consistency is so bad:
You lose motivation to shoot, and you start to become the prisoner to the expectations of other people.
Where does the notion of consistency being a good thing come from?
Generally speaking, the art world is all about categorization. This gives a job to art curators, and renders art more comprehensible to the general (small minded) public.
Consider — if you’re an artist who cannot be categorized, you will piss off a lot of people. Because people want to put you inside a box.
What is Kanye West? Rapper, designer, celebrity, or something else?
What is Henri Cartier-Bresson? Street photographer, surrealist, painter, artist, or photo journalist?
The world wants to make you comprehensible by putting you inside a box.
I say fuck all the boxes. Never let anyone try to categorize or define you. Furthermore, refuse to commit self-tyranny on yourself (forcing yourself to be consistent).
Can you be consistent for 100 years?
If you were going to live to be 120 years (in excellent health), would you want to be “consistent” for the rest of my life? I think not.
You would want to innovate and change things up! Imagine owning the same iPhone for the rest of your life. Or imagine if Apple refused to create new products, or upgrade their existing products. Not a world worth living in.
The more you stay consistent, the more you start fossilizing
Consider an organism that never “contradicted” itself by never changing. Certainly this organism would start to die.
I know for myself, I love artists who constantly change and evolve. Kanye West went from backpack rapper (skinny jeans and pink polos and backpacks) to auto tune (808s and Heartbreaks) to rock metal (Yeezus, Black Skinhead) to fashion designer (Yeezy).
Elon Musk went from Paypal to Space X and Tesla. Thank goodness he didn’t just stay in the Internet business to stay “consistent”— he was hungry for new challenges, which required him to “contradict” himself.
Why do people want you to remain the same?
This is my theory:
When people become a fan of you, they become a fan of you because there is something about you which reflects themselves and their ego. And when you start to change, people feel threatened — because they see themselves changing. And most people are afraid of change.
Let me give you an example — a lot of people fell in love with Bob Dylan because he was anti-establishment and sung a bunch of anti war songs with an acoustic guitar. The people who was was a fan of “hippie” Bob Dylan were hippies themselves, and liked having a “hippie savior”. But once Bob Dylan started to play electronic guitar (non-hippie behavior) the old Dylan hippie fans got angry, because they thought to themselves:
“Wait a second! If my hippie hero (Bob Dylan) is no longer engaging in ‘hippie behavior’ (acoustic guitar and protest songs), does it mean that I’m no longer a hippie? What do I have to live for anymore???”
Thus people start to protest by trying to force you remain the same, because your fans want themselves to remain the same.
But would you want to be consistent until you die? Sounds pretty boring to me.
Why did Henri Cartier-Bresson give up photography?
Photos by Bresson:
And this is why I think Henri Cartier-Bresson gave up photography and became jaded of photography, because he was TOO consistent and didn’t allow himself to evolve!
Photos by Josef Koudelka:
Whereas Josef Koudelka switched up his style, approach, equipment, and lifestyle to continue to evolve and grow as a photographer and visual artist.
Just keep shooting it.
Allow yourself to change, contradict yourself, and keep shooting!
Stay inspired and motivated by making photos that bring you delight. Experiment with different photography projects, experiment with different types of equipment, different styles of post processing, and everything in between! Never stop experimenting and having fun with photography. Never lose inspiration, motivation, and faith in yourself — you got this shit!
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