Suffering Artist's Syndrome

David Williams, writing on his site PHOTOS4U2C, on the common milestone of photographic development he calls “Suffering Artist Syndrome”:

If you’ve read this far, you’re the type of person that has the requisite drive to learn the technical side of photography. When we get to it, you won’t have any problems understanding how the camera’s aperture setting effects shutter speed. And, I’m guessing, you also have the tenacity to learn the dark art of photo composition. You’re gonna be fine. You’re on the road to seeing. So why are you so anxious? What’s eating at you? I think I know what it is. You’re feeling the first affects of “suffering artist’s syndrome”. The first symptom is an endless line of questions — questions like, “should I be spending so much time thinking about photography?” or “Am I any good? Maybe nobody else like my photos.” Know that these are common thoughts. A stream of questions and doubt is one of the traits of a creative mind. The trick is to turn your mental grinder outwards towards the world rather than letting it drilling back into you. Trust me, once you set it free, this energy will create art. Get up off your butt and take your camera into the world.

It was for this reason that I embarked on my 52 Portraits project. There is nothing more motivating than going through the images from a shoot and really loving what came out. On the flip side there is nothing more demoralizing than looking at a bunch of recent images and not finding anything worthwhile. I’ve had my share of both but I was feeling like my growth as a photographer was not keeping pace with my appreciation of good photography — my photos weren’t up to the standard I could see in other people’s work. And so I decided to embark on a photo project to keep me learning and growing and to turn my focus from consuming to creating.

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