How to Get Over the Anxiety That Your Photos Aren’t Good Enough

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What I’m about to tell you isn’t a secret. It’s come from a whole lot of experience as a photographer, a blogger, an employer, an Editor in Chief, and as a human being. It’s easy to feel like your images aren’t that great. It’s true; sometimes your images can really, really suck. But you know what sucks even worse? Constantly being compared to others. I’d know. Do you have any idea how many times we’ve been wrongly compared to other photography blogs? Do you know how many things folks have gotten plain wrong about The Phoblographer? Well, I’m not going to tell you to get over it. I’m going to tell you to get over them. Here’s how to do some photography self-improvement.

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4 Photographers Who Overcome Adversity and Are Truly Inspiring

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Every photographer has hurdles to clear throughout their journey. For hobbyist and pro alike, difficulties arise. Most struggles relate to a level of skill or a difficult client. However, some photographers have to grind through a host of barriers. From difficulties with mental health to working with a physical disability, some photographers overcome great adversity. The Phoblographer has published some powerful stories over the years, with many of them highlighting photographers’ strengths. Below are some of our more memorable and inspiring stories.

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How to Find Inspiration for Photography Projects in the Pandemic

In Pro Camera Reviews, we recently discussed our requests from Camera Manufacturers

You’re all very bored. And trust us, we are too. So, we were looking for inspiration in our own pieces. We looked at a number of photography projects that photographers do when they’re bored or commit to a project. On our Flipboard, we rounded up a few things. There are photographers doing projects at home, fun projects, dealing with anxiety creatively, taking early morning walks, and seeing what photographers are doing now. And we discussed that in our recent episode of Pro Camera Reviews.

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Can Photography Treat Depression? It Worked for Me

A study suggests photography can help with depression – it certainly helped me with mine.

Feature Shoot recently ran a story that highlighted a study published by researchers from Lancaster University and the University of Sheffield. First published in the spring of 2018, the study noted that participants involved noticed an improvement in their mental health after taking a photo every day for two months. Studies are not always the best way to get a real-world understanding of theory, but I feel my own experience may be able to unwrap why the practice of photography can have such a positive impact on a person’s mental health.

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Jett Inong’s ANXIETY Combines Street Photography with Creative Color Usage

All images by Jett Inong. Used with permission. Editor’s Note: In a previous version of this article, we misspelled Jett’s last name. We apologize for this mistake. 

“Photography to me is a very complex form that consists of vast amount of visual language,” explains Jett Inong. “It is more eloquent than verbal language itself. When we look into a manual to build or fix something, we are most likely reliant to the photographs rather than the typed words for instructions.” In fact, Jett has a great point. No one likes to read a manual; and so it indeed is a type of language–one that’s easily conveyed in his series, ANXIETY.

Jett explains how that’s why he got into photography in the first place–the infinite capability to articulate one’s most visceral thoughts with just a click of a button, as he describes it.

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On Translating Anxiety and Depression Into Effective Imagery

All images by Jonathan Higbee. Used with permission.

“For ‘Akathisia,’ my self portrait series named after a side-effect of SSRI withdrawal, the fact that there are many days where it’s emotionally impossible for me to leave the apartment into part of the series.” says photographer Jonathan Higbee. “All of the series so far has been shot in my NYC apartment, which is not only appropriate for the project — it forces me to be more creative considering the limited space, lighting challenges and immutable background.”

Jon’s story is one of the more incredible ones I feel I’ve brought to you all in a while. He struggled with depression and anxiety, then was medicated for it, and then tried to wean himself off of the treatment with the help of a medical team. The result for him is a very difficult one that he’s learned how to translate into images.

But he hasn’t only done this with surreal and conceptual work, his photograph is the cover of the  World Street Photography Awards 2016 book just went up for pre-order. At the moment though, he’s currently working on his Akathisia series; and has a lot to say about its creation.

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“It’s Hardly Noticeable” Summarizes Anxiety Into Photos

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All images by John William Keedy. Used with permission.

“My undergraduate degree is in psychology, and years ago I was diagnosed with an anxiety disorder, and both of those things played a large role in creating the images.” says fine art photographer John Williams Keedy about his photo project entitled It’s Hardly Noticeable. “At the start of the project, I don’t think I realized how much I had inadvertently based the character on myself, but soon recognized he is like me in a number of very real ways, and though it’s not my main intent by any means, I realized the series could serve as a method of personal investigation.”

If you had to summarize what anxiety looks like in an image, it would probably be really tough to creatively think about one of the most frustrating feelings that human beings experience. But photographer John Williams Keedy has had experience and tell us that the project grew out of a previous body of work that tackled personal identity and an interest in issues of psychology.

To Mr. Keedy, the images are super personal and hit very close to home. In fact, a lot of them are from his own experiences but pushed to grandiose levels. The fact that he was diagnosed with anxiety coupled with his undergraduate study in psychology greatly influenced his art. John found that creating the images indulged his anxieties. He states,

“The images in which the character (played by me) is shown, establish the importance of the performative nature of the work, while at the same time, allow me the opportunity to explore to what degree these are images of a character, and to what degree these are images of myself and my own anxieties. This perspective provides me distance from which I can more clearly and safely examine my own self-identity, replete with anxieties.”

Though John hasn’t set out to show the work to other sufferers of anxiety, he states that he gets emails from others that say that they’ve felt the same way that the images portray. “I was really quite honored that a number of them have said that it was the first time they felt as though someone else understood how they felt. As I said the work is quite personal, so I’m extremely pleased that other people can identity themselves in the work.” John continues to say that he has always had a difficult time describing anxiety in words, which was one of the reasons he chose to talk about it through images. It taught him that a number of people have struggled putting their experiences into words as well, which he thinks is part of the reason why they respond so strongly to the photographs.

“I have also heard from a large number of people that the images helped them to feel less alone when confronting their anxieties and pathologies.” says Mr. Keedy. “I think there is a stigma that goes with mental illness which causes some people not to talk about it, so I’m hoping my work will both help those suffering from mental illness to feel less alone, less as though they are the only ones dealing with these issues, and to help open a discussion among those without mental illness to eventually eliminate the unfair stigma that can accompany it.”

John states that he is continuing to work on the series, and creating new images and exhibiting them when he can. For now though, you can follow the rest of his work on Instagram.

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