Your voice is unique — the focus of your photography shouldn’t be to discover a “better” voice or vision in photography. No, the focus you should have is to better understand and better listen to your own voice and vision in photography.
How do you see the world? What kind of glasses do you perceive reality through?
Do you see a positive, optimistic, and joyful world? Or do you perceive a pessimistic, depressing, and shitty world?
Do you seek to capture your own unique version of reality? Or do you wish to change reality with your camera?
Are you satisfied with the real world around you, or dissatisfied?
Your vision is the right vision.
I don’t think there is a “right” or “wrong” way to see the world.
There is only your unique vision of the world. That is the “real” world— your unique perspective.
Your job and duty as a photographer is:
- To better understand what your vision is
- To share that vision with others
As an artist, you are a visual tyrant— you’re trying to convince others that your vision of the world is interesting, unique, and important. And to share that vision with others, you need to make powerful pictures — pictures that give people a muscular reaction (one that makes people smile, frown in disgust, or something that causes someone’s eyeballs to dilate in surprise).
I recommend when you share your pictures with other people in real life, study their facial reactions when looking at your pictures. People lie with their words, but they never lie with their faces or their eyes.
As a visual artist, you want to elicit a REACTION in your viewer. If your pictures give your viewer a “tepid” (lukewarm) response, you have failed. You need to elicit a strong reaction in your viewer — you either want your viewer to really love your picture, or really hate it. Extreme reactions, no “meh” or indifferent reactions.
Trust your own inner-vision
Of course, this is all my opinion. I am writing you this letter to encourage you to think more critically about your photography and pictures.
Ultimately, form your own opinion about your own pictures, and stay faithful to your unique vision in photography.
So friend, do you know what makes your vision of the world unique? Do you have the faith and confidence to share that vision with others—even though it may piss others off?