Lomography Asks: How do photographers deal with their fear of failure and rejection?

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On our radar are photographers whose early successes make us wonder what early fears they might have had.


Reka Koti

Photos by Reka Koti

I never had the chance to study photography in higher education because I was under a light pressure from my family to study law. Still, I realized how passionate I was to become a photographer and that I had to fulfill this urge. My only fear was to become a mediocre photographer so first I had to challenge myself and test if I had talent. I started to experiment with different techniques and looked for a visual identity that was genuine to me. Thanks to this step towards photography I’ve had the chance to travel, exhibit in different countries, meet like-minded people andconstantly learn about analogue photography.


Carly Zavala

Photos by Carly Zavala

What I feared (and actually continue to at times) is not being good enough at what I do. I think this is something a lot of creative people struggle through when they get into something new. When it comes to photography though, it’s especially challenging because there are so many talented photographers out there. What I do about this fear is remind myself that I’m not trying to compete with anyone. I try to create work that is original and true to myself. We have to see other photographers as a means of inspiration instead of a gauge to compare one’s work to.


Alice Smeets

Photos by Alice Smeets

I feared that I would not be good enough to make it as a professional photographer. But I didn’t listen to that fear and concentrated on doing the photography that I love. I wanted to live my passion and didn’t care if I would not make much money. I always thought that if I didn’t make enough, I would just move to a country that had a much cheaper standard of living. But somehow I never had to. Today I know why: If you concentrate on what you love instead of focusing on the question ‘how to earn money?’ success will come much easier. Because your state of mind shows in your work and if you focus on your passion, the language of your photos will be ‘love’. And that makes your photos much more beautiful.


Richard Gaston

Photos by Richard Gaston

The fear I initially experienced in photography was working so closely with models who I didn’t know too well. For me, that limited what I could produce because there was a sense of awkwardness. So I took to the outdoors, where I would be with friends. I would always feel comfortable photographing them.

But I am now where I began, photographing people I don’t know. This transition is inevitable. I am always seeking to learn every aspect of photography, so I am eager to overcome my fears and challenge myself. Essentially, I think it’s good to have fear in photography, as long as the fears are challenged and new approaches are addressed—not immediately, but when the time is right.

Photography is very personal. I’ve also experienced fear in publishing my work. Initially, I was very anxious about what people thought of my personal work. But if it weren’t for the criticism, I wouldn’t know all that I do today. With every image published on my social media platforms, all that I care about is that I am happy with the image. The initial fear has now developed into confidence.


Lomography Asks is a new monthly series on the Lomography Magazine where we present a photography-related topic to the community aiming not to pit opposing views against one another, but to kick start an insightful and meaningful discussion among the community.

2015-11-30 #people #lifestyle #lomography-asks

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