Have you ever felt frustrated because the result of your creative endeavour didn’t live up to your expectations? Of course you have – it’s a rhetorical question. Everybody does. Ever so often we all feel we are not able to express strongly enough or good enough what we have on our mind or seeing for our eyes. Whether you are a photographer, like me, or expressing yourself through any other media, we all hit this disparity between what we want to achieve and what we actually manage to create. We have this great idea, but can’t get it out, can’t make it materialize in a satisfying way. Particularly when we start out as beginners we are often encountering this feeling of not being good enough.
There is a gap.
There is a gap between the result and what we set out to create in the first place. Particularly in the first couple of years as we try to figure out our way into becoming a photographer, or a painter, or a designer, or a writer – or whatever it is we are getting into – the stuff we make isn’t quite good enough, it’s really not that great. It’s trying to be good, it has ambitions to be good, but it’s not quite that good.
I surely remember when I (a very long time ago) slowly switched from photographing nature to become more documentary orientated and trying to photograph people in their various ways of living. It was a very frustrating period of time. I didn’t get the pictures I saw other photographers were able to capture much better than me in similar situations. I certainly wasn’t happy with most of my photos back then. They just didn’t capture some essence of life or were expressive in a way that could talk to others who hadn’t experienced the occasion I was trying to photograph. In retrospect, one reason was the inability to dare getting close enough, but it was also just getting around understanding the way these kinds of photos work in general. It took me many years to get around to the other side.
It has happened later, too. That I feel I am in a rut and not able to create anything worth keeping. As I said in the beginning; it happens to everyone. It’s part of the creative path. On and off we all feel we are banging your head against the wall and don’t get any further. That’s when we have to remind ourselves that it’s just a phase. Especially if we are beginners we will have to accept that it takes time, a long period of time, yes, years to get anywhere close to where we feel this gap between what we set out to create and what we actually end of with making, is diminishing.
The frustrating part when you encounter this gap is that your taste is good enough to tell that what you are making is a disappointment to you, but you just aren’t able to do anything about it. Unfortunately, a lot of people don’t get passed that point. They quit. But remember, then, all those who you think do the most interesting work, have been through these phases as well. All of them. They have just not given up, but kept working even when they felt that disappointment for their art work. They went through a face of years when they knew that the work they were making wasn’t as good as they wanted it to be. They knew it felt short. But they didn’t give up. If you go through a phase like that right now, you got to know that is totally normal. The best thing you can do is do a lot of work. Do a huge volume of work. And eventually you will come out on the other side. It’s only by doing a huge volume of work you will be able to close up that before mentioned gap, when your work will be as good as your ambitions.
You just have to fight your way through that phase. I know it’s easy to say. I know it is discouraging to stand with your legs stretched out across that gap. But if you know that you eventually will be able to create something that feels completely right, that in itself will hopefully be an encouragement enough to keep up with the hard work even when it feels less than satisfying in the moment.
How has you encounter with this gap been? And how did you get around it? Please share we us your experience.
On a different note, I want to apologize to all of you who follow my blog and faithfully comment on my posts for not having returned your visits. Since before Christmas I have been on the road and simply haven’t been able to follow up. However, I do appreciate every visit, every like and every comment. How no doubt about that. And now that life is slowly getting back to normal again, I promise I will start revisiting your blogs again. I will get back to you all.