The benefits of pulling back

(c) 2009 Brian E. Miller Photography

Boy we live in a world!  A world of non-stop availability and consumption.  Anything we want to know or see, and a lot don’t, is available right at our fingertips through iPhones, computers, iPads, billboards, TV, radio, newspapers, magazines, etc.  Media has made it a wonderful world; it has also made it a terrifying world!

Some time ago I noticed I was getting sad, and grumpy, and irritable.  I was just generally pessimistic about the state of the world.  My solution?  I turned off the news.  Not as a whole, I don’t have a magic remote control, but in my life.  I stopped watching the nightly news (especially local news) and I stopped reading newspapers.  It was all negative news anyway and therefore slanted and biased toward selling newspapers and news shows.  So I went on a “no news diet.”  You know what, it worked.  My mood improved dramatically.  I’m still on that diet to this day.

With that in mind I wondered how I could make a similar shift in my photography.  I spend a fair bit of time reading blogs and looking at other photographer’s work and while sometimes I get inspired, as my Inspiration Monday blogposts might suggest, I also find myself getting down on myself.  You see, I compare myself.  Sometimes I compare my skill level to others’ skill levels; I compare the quality of my output to others’; I compare the quality, intensity, depth, creativity of my projects to others’ as well.  And that can depress me with regard to photographing.

Hmmmm, where have I seen this pattern before?

So, what about going on a low-photography diet?  You know, to stop looking at others’ work and comparing myself against it, even subconsciously?  Especially subconsciously!  What if I just dream up a project and work toward it, without distractions, in my own little creative bubble, without critique, without comparison.  I might just have to pull back a bit to do that, but I’ve survived (thrived) doing something similar before.  And heck, I just might have the time to pursue those creative endeavors if I stopped.

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5 Responses to The benefits of pulling back

  1. Tom says:

    Brilliant idea, Brian. I did the same thing with regard to TV news over a year ago, and it does help me. Sounds like a great idea for photography, too! Thanks!

  2. Amy Zampella says:

    I suggest a news fast to all my stressed out clients. Hope this works for your photography as well.

  3. Steph says:

    Excellent Brian! I have done the same, with the exception of the weather. I know this will work for your photography too!

  4. carmelablue says:

    Brian, thank you for doing what you do because it makes my day brighter every time I tune in here. I believe a good life is made up of countless small happinesses and your sharings are part of those. It is always good to visit here.

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