Enthusiasm is the basis of success. No creative activity is possible without enthusiasm. Nothing can replace it. It is much more important than any knowledge and experience, because it itself gives a person both experience and knowledge. Knowledge and experience are absolutely powerless without enthusiasm.
Fading enthusiasm is what doomed my scientific career to failure. Fortunately, I realized in time that I was not doing my job. Many people do not understand this, or maybe they are just afraid to admit their mistake, stubbornly continuing to do someone else’s work. The effectiveness of the operation to be performed without enthusiasm, is negligible.
What is enthusiasm? I understand it not just as a sense of purpose, but as an emotional lift, an inspiration aimed at achieving a goal.
When the scene captures me, I feel an extraordinary surge of energy, the mobilization of all mental and physiological resources. Enthusiasm increases your performance in an incredible way, motivating you to continue working, regardless of laziness and fatigue. Enthusiasm makes me get up in the dark, go to the field and freeze there waiting for the dawn. Being emotionally involved in the process of shooting, I apply all my skills to get a harmoniously arranged and perfectly exposed frame. In search of the optimal shooting point, I can risk my life to climb a dangerous ledge, and a few hours later, seeing the same scene in an ordinary, non-photogenic light, I will be sincerely surprised: how did I even have the courage to climb such a steep slope? The magic went with the light, and my fear of heights is with me again.
You can’t force enthusiasm, but you can feed it. The more time you spend doing what you love, the harder you look for new creative ways, the more chances you have to ride Pegasus.
Visit unusual, beautiful places that stimulate your imagination more often. Learn to see the hidden beauty in everyday things that surround you constantly. Inspiration does not come to the lazy. Intuitive insight, understanding exactly how you can get a beautiful frame, is usually preceded by long and hard work.
Don’t force yourself to remove items that don’t touch you. Direct your efforts to find those things that are worth shooting and that can awaken your imagination.
The strictest critic of your work should be yourself. Shoot with passion-judge impartially. View your photos as if they were taken by a complete stranger. Abstract from yourself as the author. Will your photo be perceived by the viewer as you would like it to be? If you are not too lenient to fail the snapshot in the power of emotional reasons? I do not dispute that a technically poor-quality or artistically untenable image may be dear to you as a memory. Well, he has a right to exist, but be prepared for the fact that other people may not share your sentiments. You may have put a lot of work into a picture, and therefore it is valuable to you, but the viewer does not know this! For him, only the final result matters, regardless of how much effort was spent to achieve it and what equipment was used in this case. Be objective and show others only your best work. Let them be few at first, but if you are demanding of yourself, your level will inevitably increase.
It’s nice to be praised by relatives and friends, but their opinion is rarely impartial. The sympathy that someone feels for you personally will inevitably extend to your works. In addition, many people appreciate the photos, especially the principle of “like/unlike”. Looks like it’s beautiful. This approach is to some extent justified for memorable, documentary images, where the subject is important in itself, but is absolutely not acceptable in the field of fine art, where the author’s subjective vision dominates the subject.
Avoid seeking advice from photography enthusiasts, engineers, and programmers. There are enough talented photographers among them, but for the most part, people with technical interests unduly overestimate the role of equipment in creating good photos. You will be told that your work is weak, because you have a flawed, outdated camera with a small dynamic range and terribly low resolution; your lens has a ridiculous aperture and, due to the lack of elements from super-super-low-dispersion fluorite, in principle, is not able to provide any acceptable sharpness. If you shoot with a compact camera, you will be advised to buy a professional DSLR. Do you have a full-frame DSLR of the latest model? She belongs in the trash! A true professional uses only the average format! And so on. Technofetishism is almost incurable.
Believe me, your camera is in perfect order. No matter how primitive it is, its capabilities are enough to create a masterpiece.
How to distinguish technofetishist from a photographer who is simply well versed in photography? Elementarily. The photographer takes photos. When someone tries to impress you with their knowledge of matches, look at their work. If his knowledge does not allow him to get beautiful shots, what is the use of such knowledge? The most valuable knowledge is acquired in the field, personal experience of shooting, and not on web forums.
Learn only from those photographers whose skill is confirmed by their works. If you like someone’s pictures, and you would like to do no worse, then you have something to learn from their author. If you are not impressed by the photos of a certain authoritative Internet master, then why waste time on him?
The best critics for you will be people of art. Not necessarily photographers. Painters, graphic artists and other artists understand the fundamental issues of lighting and composition much better than the regulars of photo forums. Communicate with artists, read books on the theory of fine art, sign up for drawing courses, and in the end, you will begin to understand what exactly is missing from your pictures.