My mind has been so occupied with coaching work, personal life, and actual photography that posting on this blog has gone by the wayside for a bit. I’ll do a “catch-up” post next but there is something on my mind that I am wanting to share: my thoughts on image scarcity.
What is image scarcity? Well, I think I just made it up but scarcity can apply to all kinds of things – time, money, or anything else that we think is in short supply compared to the desire for it. I’ve been feeling scarcity creep into my thoughts in regards to my images. I’m thinking thoughts like: “I don’t have enough images to keep sharing on instagram”, “I haven’t done any serious photography for a while so I don’t know if I can keep producing enough”, and “I’m going to run out of ‘good’ work”. See the theme here? As part of my personal work on this, I’m going to address each thought and go through how I would work through each one.
“I don’t have enough images to keep sharing on instagram” – I actually REALLY like sharing my work with others and I’m thinking that if I keep posting 3x/week then I will eventually run out of work to share. Right now this thought feels true to me. Is it really though? The first way I tackle this is just by looking at what this thought is creating for me. It leads me to feel fear which causes me to 1. question every post I make, 2. post less, and 3. think about how I should have been making more images. There’s probably more but I can already see that it’s all creating the exact opposite of what I want: less interaction on instagram and beating myself up for not producing “more”. It’s all keeping me from doing something I really enjoy. My next tactic is to question that thought. What is “enough”? Do I even know how many images I have or would want to share? All unknowns to me!!!
“I haven’t done any serious photography for a while so I don’t know if I can keep producing enough” – This next one is similar and, though it feels true when I say it, I think by questioning it I can immediately discard it. Do I need to do “serious” photography to produce images I like? NO! Are there subjects I like nearby to explore and photograph – YES! Is there more exploration to be done by me? YES! And, I do have some trips planned ahead but my brain has already discounted those. It isn’t even remotely true that I would take a trip to a national park and come back with zero photos.
“I’m going to run out of ‘good’ work” – This one is probably the least benign of the three thoughts. This is where my brain is trying to trick me into discounting ALL (or most) of the work I’ve already done. See, if my mind can convince me that the work I’m doing isn’t good enough then I will probably stop pushing myself and my brain can rest. So, I question this thought too. What does “good” even look like? I have thousands of images and I get to decide if I like them or not. I can absolutely decide that they are ALL “good” and probably never run out of work to share.
The real secret to this work is that I don’t immediately discount thoughts like this that my brain offers me. I look at them, work through them and then decide to keep them…or not. I want to know if there is something serious happening that I should protect myself from or if my subconscious is just trying to get out of doing the mental work to achieve awesomeness. So, today I’ve decided to change my thought to “I have exactly enough work to post and I’ll have fun sharing it!” Here’s my image I posted today!