I’ve had the honor of mentoring several talented, driven, hard-working and gifted people over the last few years. As they all struggle to find their own way, I find myself giving them each the same advice – follow your heart. Be true to yourself. Do what you love. Be your authentic self.
Then something astonishing happened. One of my protges asked me this simple question:
“How do I know if I’m being my authentic self?”
It’s one of those questions I thought I knew the answer to right away. But then as I thought about it, I realized, it could be a tricky one for some photographers.
For me, the answer is straight forward. Being authentic means operating from a place of peace, truth, happiness and no fear. That last part is the most important. When your photography matches your authentic self, it’s easier to just be you. You don’t need to fear anyone or anything getting in the way. You know what you want to do and you’re doing it.
Authenticity and confidence go hand-in-hand. It’s nearly impossible in my mind to be authentic if you don’t believe in yourself. Doubt, second-guessing and remorse are often more about lack of self-esteem than anything else. If you can work on your confidence, you’ll be working on your authenticity at the same time.
The lesson here is simple. Believe in yourself, your vision, your own point-of-view. Be open and honest about what you want to achieve with your photography. If you do these things you will indeed be authentic and you’ll find more people who enjoy your work.
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