Texas: Don’t ever compare yourself!

As part of the Southwestern Photojournalism Conference in Texas this past weekend, the speaking faculty had the honor and privileged to mentor some young student shooters. For part of the day, I shadowed Megan Bailey from  Union University in Tennessee, offering bits of guidance, as she shot photos in the Fort Worth Stockyards. Her chosen subject was The Stockyards Up Close. This profile portrait of one of the cowboys won her the Judges Award.  I would also like to bring up a point that all photographers need to consider.

As creatives, we tend to fall into the trap of comparing our work to others. Here is a hint for long-term survival in this field: Do not compare yourselves to others. Comparing yourself to others is a sure route to depression and paralysis. If you fall into the comparison trap, you will become so fearful that it will block your imagination. You will freeze up and produce nothing of value. You will be paralyzed and unable to flow in any kind of creativity. Sounds pretty harsh, but I have been there. I know from whence I speak!

The only reason I bring this up now is that once I saw her portrait on the computer monitor, I was tempted to be jealous. I was tempted to compare her shot to my work. Great work, Megan, and congrats on the award. I think I will just enjoy your photo and not compare anything!

Cowboy closeup

Photo Copyright© Megan Bailey

10 thoughts

  1. Inspiring post Gary, thanks for sharing. I couldn’t agree more, and must admit that I myself have found myself doing this from time to time. Your words are empowering, no good can come from comparison!

  2. Keith and Ty and Erin…thanks for commenting. We all tend to do it for sure. Being aware that we are weak in that area is the best medicine for prevention.

    gary

  3. Hello Gary,

    Thanks for your words above. This was one of the excellent shots from the student workshop and I was tempted to feel the same way when I first saw it. Excellent photographs standout from the rest and speak to us in different ways. This one I know impressed everyone that viewed. Great work Megan! A well-deserved honor for a kind, humble and young photographer.

    Thank you as well for the inspirational words you and Vivian shared with us at the conference.

    Looking forward to having you take my picture when I visit Atlanta in June. ;>)

    James Bokovoy

  4. Gary, thanks for being so honest in this area. I struggled with this a lot this past weekend @SWPJC, but kept holding on to the truth: God has given me a gift. I will not bury it with my insecurities. It is for His glory.

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