Girl with pigeon shadow. Paris, 2011

Self Centered Photography

The secret to being a happier and more successful photographer: be more self centered.

Why is self centered considered evil?

Lady with hat. Santa Monica, 2011
Lady with hat. Santa Monica, 2011

Strangely enough in modern society, to be self centered is considered bad and evil.

Self centered is synonymous with being arrogant, selfish, and not caring about others.

I disagree. To be self centered is to be focused on yourself, in some sort of zen way.

What can we learn From zen?

Jazz hands. Hollywood, 2011
Jazz hands. Hollywood, 2011

In zen philosophy, to be centered is to be strong, focused, balanced, and firm. It means to find contentment within yourself, to be a perfect sphere unto yourself.

I think in photography, the more we focus on our own photography and care less about what other photographers are working on, the better.

The more self centered we are, the less envious we are of others

Grimace dog. Paris, 2011
Grimace dog. Paris, 2011

I think too many photographers care too much about what other photographers are doing. This leads to envy, jealousy, and pettiness. We compare ourselves with others, based on our likes and followers. We feel envious of others with more likes and followers than us.

The worst of all, photography becomes some sort of rat race, or numbers game. We compare ourselves with others, rather than competing against ourselves.

What does a self centered photographer look like?

Detroit fist, 2011
Detroit fist, 2011

To be self centered is to look at your own photos and asking yourself,

Do I like my own photos?

It also means you’re seeking to impress yourself with your own photos — the secret to happiness, joy, and a sense of progress for yourself.

Practical Assignments

Blue wall and arrows. Santa Monica, 2011
Blue wall and arrows. Santa Monica, 2011

So friend, to sum up — seek to be more self centered in your photography. Some ideas:

  1. Uninstall all social media apps (Instagram, Facebook) from your phone for a month. Rather, focus on making your own photos, and care less about what other photographers are up to.
  2. Instead of social media, meet other photographers in real life, to give each other feedback and critique. When I say be self centered in photography, focus on yourself, but also seek to empower other photographers. The stronger you can empower yourself in your photography by focusing on yourself, the more you can end up eventually helping others.
  3. Only upload and share photos that you like. Don’t seek anyone else’s approval except yourself.
  4. Start your own photography blog to share your photos, avoid Facebook and Instagram.
  5. Enjoy the process of improving your photography, but always strive to take your photography to more epic heights


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