Oct 30 2018

Curiosity No. II

Photo by Jai Tanju

Lots of emails and DMs about that last one and I think I can go deeper on the topic. And thank you for your messages! I never know who is reading these things. If you like the posts, do me a huge favor. Leave a comment on the article. That way we can all discuss it together because I got multiple messages from multiple different voices. Secondly, Google will rank the site better with more “engagement”. That means people leaving comments. And that means I can keep doing this! I also made it so you can comment anonymously if you are feeling shy.

The truth is everyone who has been shooting for a long time goes through these waves of feeling stuck or stagnant vs flowing and charged up. It is partly a motivation problem but I think it is mostly a curiosity problem.

I looked it up.

cu·ri·os·i·ty

noun: curiosity; plural noun: curiosities

1. a strong desire to know or learn something.
“filled with curiosity, she peered through the window”
synonyms: interest, spirit of inquiry, inquisitiveness
“his evasiveness roused my curiosity”

2. a strange or unusual object or fact.
“he showed them some of the curiosities of the house”

I like to look up definitions to figure out if I am using the word correctly since I ditched school all the time. Not only on paper or blog but also in my mind. Your mind plays tricks on you. Most of the time your mind is wrong. You might think your stuck because your lazy, but it’s not true. You are really busy. And really distracted.

So what do you have a strong desire to know or learn about? Easy examples are nature, humans, music, sports, current events, etc. But as an editor, publisher, and lover of a particular style of photography I’ll tell you what you should be more curious about. That is YOU.

YOU are the strange or unusual object that makes us, the viewer, want to see and learn about.

“All photographs are a self portrait.” That’s a quote I learned in school and I can’t remember who said it. Your photos are you showing yourself to the viewer. What’s your story? Who are the characters in your story? If you are living on some farm in Australia, I don’t really want to see your photos of Golden Gate Bridge when you were on visiting there once 5 years ago. That is unless you see it in a way only a farmer from Australia could see it. But, I wanna see the farm. I wanna see the weird goats and weird chickens.

I stole this joke off my brother. When I had a camera out and he had to introduce me to another person he would say, “This is my biographer.” I started saying that too when I had photographers around me. But it’s funny because it’s sorta true. I’m an “auto-biographer” and working on my own pictorial history.

When you are stuck, I say if you can stay curious and stay explorative about your own story, then I think you can stay on that wave of motivation longer if not forever. And when you get good at telling your story, maybe someone will buy a part of it in the form of print, zine, or book. Or maybe they will hire you to help tell theirs.

11 thoughts on “Curiosity No. II

  1. Hey man, really enjoyed this one (and the first part too). I started reading your post earlier today and haven’t stopped! Thanks for the perspective.

  2. I’m loving these posts, dude. I ditched social media about two years ago… and just began using my RSS reader again to keep up with people whose work inspires me.

    I’ve been struggling with that stagnant feeling with my own work for the past couple of years. It’s one of the reasons I bailed on social media because I was suspicious that it had a part in that. Whether I wanted to admit it or not… I was constantly comparing my work to the work of others. It’s been pretty rad to get away from it all and let my work develop in the direction it wants to grow in on it’s own.

    It turns that when I was on social media I was trying to pigeon-hole myself as one ‘style’ of photographer… and limiting myself as an artist… whereas now I don’t think that way at all. The biographer/auto-biographer echoes a lot of how I feel these days. Thanks for putting that sentiment into words!

  3. Thanks for sharing Andy! I think that’s one of the reasons I quit social media for sure. I have since re-started on instagram and going into it with a different state of mind is making it better for me. I will admit though that since I have been active on this website and my blog, not sure if I wanna keep it!

  4. It’s tough from a business standpoint to be without it. So much of the world revolves around it… that being away from it is almost like not existing. I’ve noticed since I’ve been digging back into RSS and blogs… that 80-ish percent of the blogs I used to subscribe to haven’t been posted on since 2015… or they’ve been deleted altogether. My own blog even falls into the latter. Social media has essentially replaced it, so without it… I think it’s stacking the odds against you because it has become the quintessential way that people stay informed.

    I guess like anything… managing your own expectations helps navigate your experience. So approaching it with the right mindset is everything. Maybe one day I’ll get back on with a different outlook. Maybe.

  5. Yeah. I do think it is possible to have a photo career without Instagram for sure. But, it also depends on what kind of work you want to do. Lots of pros and cons. I think I will write more about it.

  6. Yo man I’ve just come across this, totally agree with both of these posts! I really like the quote too, hit the nail on the head with that. If you could find who said I’d love to know.

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