Photography is an Uphill Battle

I've been developing some new film prints for a street photography project. Film always gives photos a great aesthetic, but I have so many issues with it. Firstly, one of my three rolls turned black in the developing process. I've never messed up an entire roll that badly before and it felt pretty horrible. Right after it happened I was thinking back to an article that I read in psychology about how humans predict their own happiness. It claimed that humans predict that events in their lives will affect them much more than they do in reality, so we predict that we will be much happier about something, like buying a new car, than we really are in the long run. We also predict that negative events will devastate us for longer than they do, and I find this thought to be calming. Even though I was upset about my film, I realized that I would soon move on from it, after I accepted that the images were gone, and I'd continue working with what I had.

Photography is not a good hobby for someone who is high strung like me. I like things to be perfect in my life, and knowing that there was a photo opportunity that I missed drives me insane. I've had to learn to let a lot of things go, which has probably been good for me. Film especially takes a long time to set up, so it's easy to miss photo opportunities which can be aggravating. Once I've missed an opportunity or ruined a photo somehow, I tend to reflect on that photo as if it was the best photo I could've taken and now I'll never see another one like it. That's such a black and white view on things because this whole photography thing is supposed to be about learning and developing my style, not finding a single career-making photo that will fulfill all of my aspirations at once. The goal is, at least in theory, to acquire a skill set that can be utilized frequently and improved upon. If I miss one photo, then I just have to learn to be quicker, or to remember to fix the exposure right, and another opportunity will come along soon enough for me.

I don't think of myself usually as a go-with-the-flow type of person, and not as a creative type either, which is why photography has been so interesting to me. My approach to it is probably more analytical than it is imaginative. There are some people that I would peg immediately as artists and creative geniuses, but I think that anywhere I've gotten with art in the past has been because I had a goal, not because of any natural passion. Sometimes it's frustrating when I want to be making some sort of art, probably because in theory it's a great way to announce uniqueness, but I don't feel like I've ever had a single thing that I was passionate about. Some people just draw all the time because they really love it, and I'm learning to love photography, but it feels more like an uphill battle. The problem is that I expect it to be a talent that I'm either gifted with or that I'm completely without. Life would be so much easier if we each had one thing that we were good at, that we loved, and that we didn't have to think about.

Unfortunately that's not the case for most people, especially me. I get discouraged when I'm not immediately good at something, and admitting that I might improve only after starting from a place of ineptness doesn't come naturally to me. So that's what photography is in my life right now- it's the hobby that's challenging the way I view innate ability, causing me to reevaluate and instead find that ambition plays a bigger role in talent than I'd expected. Photography is teaching me that even when I think I've mastered a technique or understand a concept, I almost certainly haven't, but that doesn't mean that I have to give up by any means.

Putting myself out on a platform as anything other than perfection isn't a pleasant idea for me. Posting images that aren't absolutely stunning or writing a blog that might not be at the standard of a professional writer makes me feel incredibly vulnerable. It is giving people the ability to judge my work as failure before I get the chance to come to that conclusion first, but being able to do so is how people adapt and become better versions of themselves. It's easy for me to get caught up mulling over some idea in my head about being a photographer or a writer, but until those ideas tested, they will just remain ideas.

I was really just meaning to write about how irritating film can be, but maybe this blog is going to be a little more philosophical than I'd anticipated. How much honesty exactly is appropriate for a public audience? I write a lot privately but having an image attached to what I write will probably change the dynamic of my writing somehow. Or maybe it won't, in which case this should be interesting!