Thoughts On Introverted Personalities and Photography

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According to Dictionary.com, the word Introvert means:

a person characterized by concern primarily with his or her own thoughts and feelings.”

Which brings us to a subject that I’ve been discussing back and forth with many photographers for months before I even sat down to pen this piece. It’s about introversion and being a photographer, painter, or any sort of artist to begin with. Introverts are very much concerned with themselves and in many cases, their social behaviors can either be all about them or there can be a big lack of social behavior. With the growth and development of the web, introversion has also become even more widespread.

An introverted photographer shoots for themselves: they don’t think or care about what a client wants, they shoot for what they want. A hobbyist photographer that is totally fine taking photos of flowers, cats, or shooting nudes is a perfectly fine person to be. There is absolutely nothing wrong with being introverted and being all about just you. But with that said, the person is so absorbed in what they’re doing that they start to care less and less about others and only about furthering their own ambitions.

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Leica M60 review images (9 of 23)ISO 4001-3000 sec at f - 1.4

While it can be argued that everyone is really just about furthering their own ambitions, it can also be clearly shown that some demonstrate more balance than others or instead tend to go the other way.

Professional photographers and folks that in general make their living through the industry tend to be extroverts. An extrovert cares more about the social scene around them. They want to know how the world is perceiving them and they also want to help shape it. An extroverted photographer cares about what a client wants and continues to deliver work that pleases all of their clients.

And after many chats with photographers, art buyers, editors and other folks here in the photo industry based in NYC, it’s become clear that extroverts are often the ones that get sales, go out to network and meet new clients and collaborators, check in with many allied folks in the industry to ensure that they can keep working, and overall realize that the industry is about marketing and who you know than what you know. They make friends in the industry, they interact with one another, and they form strong social bonds that become symbiotic relationships.

No where is this more apparent than during a recent quote that I asked photographer Zack Arias for. Mr. Arias admits that he’s been so busy creating work for clients that he hasn’t had any time to develop his personal work. And this is where the need for balance comes in.

Every photographer needs to find a way to balance themselves. They need to find time to work, to network, to massage relationships, to give themselves personal time, and to develop new work. It’s a tough battle but in the end a photographer and artists in general need to lean more towards being extroverted than introverted in order to actually make a living off of the work.

But further, the types of folks that one surrounds themselves with will influence how the photographer progresses. If you eventually end up at the top of your game, you’ll need to find a way to continue to improve yourself and the only way to do that is to add new people to your social circles.