In the previous chapters, we discussed all the important factors required to grow as a photographer in India. If you follow the process provided in them, you can very well achieve stability in the business of photography with time. But even if everything goes smooth in our professional lives, there are certain insecurities that keep creeping up in our lives to prevent us from moving ahead. These insecurities can be the reason(s) for our downfall if we do not keep them in check from time to time. In the final chapter of this series, I would like to mention a few such insecurities you might come across in your photographer career. Why? Because when you know your enemies, it becomes easier to fight them. Read on.
We all go through our highs and lows due to various personal and professional reasons. The individual and environmental factors keep playing with our lives due to which we go through all sorts of experiences- good and bad. Even if you succeed in establishing yourself as a popular photographer earning bullocks in the market, at times you might fill yourself up with certain insecurities like the fear of tomorrow. The amount of competition that exists in this field in the market, the expectations that the society- our dear and near ones hold from us, and even the expectations that we have from ourselves- whether we would be able to reach our goal/target or not, can at times make us anxious.
I am not trying to demotivate you but telling you from my own experiences that the society which we belong to expects a lot from us. Your parents want you to have a stable career and consistent source of earnings, your friends expect you to never say “No” to spontaneous travel plans, your sister/brother expects gifts from you, your grandparents want to see you settled, and your Social Media peers provide you with stiff competition on every materialistic thing possible. These expectations, in general, boost your enthusiasm and make you work harder in establishing yourself, but sometimes, they can work against you. As Ed Latimore once tweeted, “Sometimes you fulfill them [expectations], sometimes it becomes difficult to fulfill them.” When it becomes difficult to fulfill these expectations, they gradually start screwing you over. They go deep inside your being, feeding on your anxieties, feeding on your ‘self’ over and over.
And then your downfall begins. You start getting sad and depressed. The work that initially gave you an adrenaline rush, the art that was once your passion begins to feel like a boring responsibility. You start hating your art. You begin experiencing mood swings due to which your personal and professional life suffers. Gradually, you start feeling like a loser. And to save yourself from failure, you end up taking a desk job (to pay for the basics and EMIs) which makes you more miserable. Sounds like a real nightmare, right? Well, I have seen various artists going through it. I was once too near this line but then I prevented myself from falling over the edge. How did I do that? I put my passion for my work before everything else.
We began this series by defining the importance of passion in the life of an artist. Let me remind you again that the day you decided to follow your passion instead of going for a regular job, you took the ultimate risk. A regular job would have provided you with the basics, but you decided to take the road less traveled by in order to make all the difference in your life. This road is full of challenges and you got to keep working hard to reach your goals. You got to keep reminding yourself of your passion for photography; your passion towards your art. Put it up as your priority, breathe it, sleep it, and put your soul into it.
Do not do it for anybody, not for your parents, relatives or life partner but only for yourself. Your passion should give peace to you alone. And mark my words, if you can succeed in it, everything else will fall into place. If you keep moving ahead on the right track in your professional life, the personal one will not suffer because you will be sorted in your head. Your passion and discipline towards your business will help you in fighting all the insecurities in your life, and you will ultimately come out as a winner.
Now, if somebody close to you in your personal life affects your professional one, then you have two options at hand:
- Keep pampering them; keep putting their happiness before yours since you are weak in your head. You cannot imagine your life without that person, and so you put them as your first priority.
- You make them understand that your work is your topmost priority as it gives peace to your soul. If they still do not get it, you throw them out of your life.
The first option is tempting because your affection for that special someone might be too intense. But it will not lead you anywhere in your professional life. Imagine if tomorrow that person leaves you or is still not satisfied with the things you have done for them, then you will suffer both in your personal as well as professional life. The second option, on the other hand, is very difficult but in the long run, this will keep you sane. This option risks your relationship with that person, but it is worth the risk because we are talking about your passion! At the end of the day, you should never mix your personal life with the professional one. And if somebody makes you do so, you teach that person a lesson. Understand this: Emotional setbacks can majorly affect your personality in all the wrong ways. So, take care that you do not let emotions trouble you on the work front.
There is a reason why celebrities keep giving statements like, “At the top, you are lonely.” To reach the top, you must make various compromises in your personal life because you cannot keep everybody happy. So, you must be selfish in Ayn Rand sort of manner, you must embrace Individualism to fight your insecurities and come out as a successful photographer.
Sometimes, this selfishness might make you feel alone. But when you ask everyone to fuck off, then the real game starts. You must work harder now. Keep everything aside. Keep your stupid weekend parties aside. Keep your vacations aside. Put your head down on your desk and W.O.R.K. H.A.R.D. Save money to invest in your business. Embrace the virtue of discipline. Because when you work with discipline, you start respecting yourself more. And when you start respecting yourself more, that’s when people start respecting you.
So, don’t be afraid of not being able to fulfill the expectations of others. Hold your ground and tell them what you want and what you do not want to do. You might have to face anger, rejection and all other kinds of negative emotions, but in the long run, they will stand nowhere near your successful career.
Meanwhile, you can join my Facebook group, “Grow Your Art” which is a community (in the making) of photographers, cinematographers, other artists belonging to the similar stream. This community aims at developing a healthy environment for the collective growth of individuals in this business. The artists here actively participate in the discussions, and help and guide each other to grow in the Indian market.
Chapter 1 — Identify Your Passion Chapter 2 — Learning the ART. Chapter 3 — College Vs Internet Chapter 4 — Investments and Gears Chapter 5- Networking and Advertising Chapter 6- How to get work! Chapter 7- Professionalism. Chapter 8 – Money and Bills. Chapter 9 – Sustainability Chapter 10 - Major Threats and How to Overcome Them