Growth is life itself.
Ask yourself…that thing you’re gonna do— is it gonna promote growth in your life, or will it cause degeneration?
1. How to grow as a photographer
Growth: you grow as a photographer when you learn new techniques. You grow when you learn why you make pictures. You grow when you analyze your images, and learn how to improve your pictures next time.
You grow as a photographer when you feed your mind with great pictures and images. Generally you can see a trend：the photographers I know who are great, usually also have a great photo book collection. Or they have studied great photographers from the past.
As a thought experiment, if you only looked at mediocre pictures on Instagram or social media— what kind of images can you aspire towards? My suggestion：study the classic master photographers, and all master artists from the past.
Another idea：you can probably also become a good photographer by totally NOT looking at any pictures on social media. This is what Nassim Taleb calls “via negativa”— subtracting unhealthy and junk images from your mind is better for your visual health than “adding” inspirational pictures to your visual vocabulary.
2. What does photography do for you on a personal level?
Also ask yourself, does your photography encourage you to LIVE MORE? To GROW MORE? To EXPLORE MORE?
For you, what encourages you to shoot more? What discourages you from making picture? What hinders your growth as a photographer and artist?
3. Avoid what harms your growth
For myself, this is what has hurt my growth in the past：
- Weeds：Negative people online who suck away your nutrients and attention, through their negative poison, and their parasitic tendencies. Burn the weeds.
- Envy：Being envious of the success of my peers or other people— which discouraged me. On the other hands, a little healthy competition is good for growth. Just know your personality— some of us thrive and grow from envy and jealousy, whereas some of us DEGENERATE or we actually run backwards in our progress.
- Caring what others think of your pictures： To Make truly great art is to appease yourself, and to capture your own version of reality and putting it into an image. If you want to grow and evolve as a photographer, think to yourself— how can you become stronger, and more self-confident? For myself, it’s seeing that I’m a better photographer today, and that I’m changing my style… compared to my past pictures or my past style. For example, I feel I’m evolving and growing as a photographer… shooting high contrast, textured, dynamic color pictures. I’m a bit bored of monochrome right now, and I find my greatest color inspiration in studying modern art— Andy Warhol, Basquiat, Issey Miyake, and Ikko Tanaka.
Conclusion: GROWTH IS LIFE.
Be obsessed with growth, and increase your self power, and your influence. Follow the Amazon model— growth as the catalyst which powers life itself.
NEVER STOP GROWING,