How Finding Community Helped Me Let Go Of Creative Comparison
Yep, I’ve done it too, scrolled my social feed and wondered why my images aren’t as flawless as other artists. I used to wonder why my clients even hired me because there were a zillion other photographers out there who are just as good or better in my eyes. I can’t be the only one, I think it’s inevitable. We naturally compare ourselves. I’m sure there is a specific list of photographers that comes to mind even, but now is the time to stop comparing yourself to them. When we really get down to it we aren’t doing ourselves any favors taking the time to compare ourselves. My photos weren’t improving, my confidence definitely wasn’t improving, and lastly I was doing nothing to grow my client base, which meant my business wasn’t improving either. My guess is you’ll find the same is true for you. Your business will grow when you find confidence, and your confidence will grow when you stop comparing yourself to every photographer and artist that you follow.
Changing your mindset is where it starts, being aware of what you’re doing makes it easier to stop. The other thing I started telling myself? Photography isn’t a competition. I can be an incredible photographer and so can these other artists I follow. You can both be artists. You can create different things and still be incredible. What this mindset shouldn’t change is the drive to improve ourselves and our work. Feeling inspired is a wonderful thing and following and engaging with your favorite artists is an even better thing. However, I think there needs to be a healthy mindset that you will never be the artists you follow. You have your own path to follow. You have the opportunity to be someone that people look to for inspiration and if you’re distracted trying to emulate other artists path you could miss your opportunity.
So you’re probably wondering where the importance of community comes in, right? When I found that comparison wasn’t doing me any favors I wondered what to do. How did I find inspiration and celebrate other artist’s beautiful imagery while not losing my mind in the process? Relationships come in here. I worked to get to know some of the artists. Comparison and community don’t coexist well, kind of how friendship and jealousy don’t mesh. I found myself dropping the comparison and celebrating these artists instead of envying them because I got to know them. When you’re invested in more than just beautiful work you begin to view things in a different way.
I found that as I invested in these new found relationships that some of the artists invested back in me. I was making friends. I was learning that most of the incredible artists I followed who I thought had zero problems had also fallen into the pit of comparison. I found that questioning your work as an artist is normal but there is a way to do it healthily. This community has molded me the last eighteen months in ways I would have never expected. They’ve shared their insecurities, their successes, and so much more with me and through that I have found confidence in us all being different. We all have our talents and contribute to the photography world in such different ways but the heart behind it is the same.
Find your community. Connect with other artists instead of comparing yourself to them. Love them fiercely. I think you’ll find that it improves everything about you.