Figure Out Who You Are

Somebody will always be there to tell you they don’t like what you’re doing. To do work that pleases people is a constant investment in gauging trends and evaluating opinions and measuring yourself against them. If you align to what’s popular, and then in two years everyone hates it, you have to completely change who you are. But if you just figure out who you are and how you want to work, all you have to do is commit to that the rest of your life. People’s reactions might change, but you won’t have to. You’ll be doing something you care about, whether people like it or not.

The voyage of self discovery when it comes to photography is a tough one. At the outset you’re implanted with this notion that you should photograph incessantly which could potentially lead to you shooting everything. When you do, you run the risk of being typecast as the person who would raise their viewfinder to their eye for anything either because you don’t have much direction as to what type of photographer you want to be or perhaps because you feel the inexplicable need to mimic what’s being produced around you.

The remark that speaks to me the most by Ryan Muirhead is where he states that you should “figure out who you are and how you want to work…and all you have to do is commit to that for the rest of your life.” Clients will hire you because they love your style and so anything you choose to shoot from this point on will always be considered as an extension of you which is why you should care about every single image you choose to share.

Whether it’s on Instagram or on my site, I consciously steer away from photographing iconic landmarks around New York or the prototypical cityscape that you’re familiar with mainly because that type of architectural work doesn’t speak to me and quite honestly there’s enough people documenting those. Based on the number of Likes, I’m well aware that most of my portraits don’t get the type of adulation as a cityscape would but by not giving into what could potentially get me more exposure, I’m staying true to what I care about rather than what people drool over.