Shoot for Yourself


Shoot for yourself.  It is something that we hear a lot.  What’s never articulated, however, is just how hard it is to shoot for yourself.  Sometimes you can trick yourself into thinking you are shooting for yourself, when in reality you’re not.

When I make a photograph others deem to be “good”, I get positive feedback, which triggers a little release of dopamine in my brain.  This creates a craving for such feedback, and soon I start making photographs for the sole purpose of getting that fix, I become an addict.  There is little out there that is more destructive than an addiction, and in a case like this, I feel it causes you to lose all objectivity of your authenticity.

Sometimes I will make a photograph that I really enjoy, but then find myself feeling as if I have to explain it because it defies the conventions I’ve learned through positive feedback from an audience.  As an amateur, and someone who shoots for himself, the only audience whose opinion I ought to care about is my own.  I should never feel the need to explain a photograph; in my mind, that’s photojournalism.  A photo simply shows a moment, from a certain perspective, and nothing more.  A photograph is a minute window into a private world, and nothing more.


Also, in eleven days I’ll be embarking on a ten day road trip through the Atlantic provinces in search of adventure and perhaps some life lessons.



Posted by

I am a film photographer based in Prince Edward County. I make images of people, places, and things - you know, nouns.

3 thoughts on “Shoot for Yourself”

  1. Looks like we’ve been tackling a similar issue here. I relate to what your saying, but on the other hand:
    I think art, or any other product of creativity, draws it’s meaning at least partly from the confrontation with an audience, and it’s only natural to reach out to one. A photo is not (just) an isolated piece of work, it’s also a form of communication. I like having my pictures out there. I don’t shoot just for myself, but I hope I shoot as myself, and keep doing so.

    • I agree, but I also feel that that communication you mention is superimposed on it, either by the artist’s voice or by the viewer’s interpretation. Personally, I don’t feel comfortable using the “A-word” in regards to me or my photos.

  2. Pingback: Look for the Good in Your Work | J. J. Sommer

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s