This is why you are never happy as an artist

Jan 2, 2020

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

This is why you are never happy as an artist

Jan 2, 2020

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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One challenge that almost all artists and creatives face is that of feeling satisfied with our work. That we’re actually getting where we want to go. For many of us, it keeps us unhappy in our work. It’s not the work’s fault. it’s our own. We keep moving the goalposts. And no matter how good we become, we’re always holding ourselves to a higher standard.

That’s the topic explored in this video from photographer Kaiwan Shaban. They’re feelings that many of us experience and they often send us one of two ways. Either into a deep dark depression that makes us just want to pack everything in, or it can motivate us and push us to keep improving ourselves and our abilities. Either way, can we ever really be happy?

We constantly focus on our failings, the things we suck at and it can give us a constant feeling that we’re just not good enough and that we’re lining ourselves up for failure with every new project or client we tackle. It can make us forget all the great things we have achieved, the challenges we’ve overcome, and the wonderful work we have made over the years.

It’s a struggle that many of us will face throughout our lives if we stick with a creative pursuit, whether it’s for work or just a personal passion. There’s always something new to learn, ways to improve, things we suck at.

For me, the fact that there are always new things to do and learn and try is what drew me to photography in the first place. It’s what’s helped me to stick with it for so long. But that fear of failure, and that I won’t be able to meet the challenge when shooting for others is always still there.

I’m not one for the whole “New Year, New Me!” thing. In 2020, I’ll still be the same miserable git I’ve always been. But this is a new year, a new decade, you can turn it into a new way of thinking about your work and develop a new attitude towards it and towards yourself.

Don’t let that fear destroy you. Embrace it, and use it to motivate you. Remember the small victories (and the big ones).

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John Aldred

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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