The Only 2 Opinions You Should Ever Listen To (As a Creative)
As a creative you only need to satisfy the tastes of 2 people or audiences, yourself or your client. Paying attention to and caring about the work or opinions of other creatives regarding something you create is the worst thing you can do. Remember, yourself or your client, nobody else.
What does that mean exactly? Well, if you are lucky enough to be getting paid to shoot, then the only opinion that matters is the one from the person or people paying for your service. Who cares if it won’t get many ‘likes’ on Instagram? You fundamentally get paid for creating what they want, and nothing else. If you’re not shooting for a client? Well the only question you should ask is do I like it. Ignore all others if you can. Shoot whatever you want to and how you want to shoot it.
Let me tell a piece of my story to explain why.
Until fairly recently, I was someone who paid far too much attention to the work of others and shot everything guided by what would receive the most ‘likes’ etc. I’m lucky enough to have travelled to a lot of interesting places in the world and have seen some really amazing things. Unfortunately, when I look back I realise that I was always trying to capture it all in ways I had already seen it captured before. My consideration for outside influences completely took over my entire creative process.
For example, in the early days of my photography ‘journey’, I was lucky enough to have travelled through Asia. I was constantly surrounded with interesting, exciting and culturally diverse human scenes, waiting to be captured. What did I do? I spent most of my time waiting for people to get out of my shot so I could shoot another empty city scene or sunset like so many of the photos I saw on social media. This photo of an old woman sitting down on a japanese covered bridge outside of Hué, Vietnam is probably my favourite photo that I’ve ever taken. The funny thing is I only took with her in it because I was bored of waiting for her to leave. Crazy eh?
The more you are creative without the shackles of consideration for what other people think, the more your work will be reflective of your style and what you do best. This is what will make you successful, not creating work that is reflective of everyone else's. Any success I have had personally or professionally has been because of what I do differently, not because of what I do that is similar. The second I stopped being just another wannabe landscape photographer and started capturing moments rather than just another sunset, everything changed.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with shooting landscapes by the way. I still do all the time. My point is that my inherent style of shooting is far more varied than that, I just never had the balls to try any new stuff to realise it, because I was obsessed with copying or listening to everyone else.
Art and creativity is completely subjective. Negativity from anyone regarding what you create, especially from the internet, should be brutally disregarded. Criticism, unless invited by yourself and entirely constructive should be utterly ignored. Remember, yourself or your client. For every person who does not find your work to their taste, there is somebody else who does. Even then, who cares if they do? The only question is - do I like what I created?
I am in no way am suggesting that you do not share your work, it is incredibly important for creative growth to share what you create. Rather pay no attention to its reception after you do.