CHRISTOPHER JAMES HALL

Overcoming Creative Resistance in Photography: My Personal Journey

In the world of photography, I’ve often heard fellow creatives say, “I didn’t make anything today because I just didn’t feel it.” But do we truly need to be in the perfect mood to create something remarkable? In this blog post, I want to share my personal experiences with creative resistance and how I’ve learned to conquer it. Drawing from my unique background as a professional photographer, I’ll look deeper into three major aspects of resistance that have shaped my journey.

Perfectionism

Perfectionism has been a formidable adversary on my creative path. At one point, I believed that I should only embark on a project if I was certain it would turn out flawless. This mindset, however, often led to creative paralysis. Over time, I’ve come to embrace a different perspective. I now see each project as a step in a longer creative journey. I’ve adopted the mantra that “done is better than perfect.” This shift in mindset has allowed me to break free from the shackles of perfectionism. I recognize that every project, even if it falls short of perfection, contributes to my growth as a photographer. Instead of fixating on the idea of a single flawless creation, I focus on the cumulative value of my work as a whole.

Rationalization

Rationalization is a cunning adversary that many creatives, including myself, grapple with regularly. On those days when inspiration feels elusive, my mind can be quick to provide a laundry list of excuses and reasons not to create. I’ve often dwelled on not having the best equipment or compared myself unfavorably to other photographers. However, I’ve come to understand that limitations can be catalysts for creativity. Embracing challenges and finding innovative solutions has consistently led to unexpected breakthroughs in my work. Rather than allowing rationalizations to hinder my creative endeavors, I’ve learned to view them as opportunities for growth and innovation.

Fear

Fear, in various forms, underpins most of our creative resistances. I’ve personally grappled with multiple facets of fear throughout my journey as a photographer. These include the fear of failure, the fear of success, the fear of criticism, and the fear of being exposed as a fraud. Yet, my perception of fear has evolved. It’s no longer a signal to retreat but an indicator of the importance of what I’m about to undertake. Fear now serves as a motivator, propelling me forward with the understanding that the rewards of creative expression far outweigh the discomfort of fear. Whether it’s the fear of not meeting my own expectations or the fear of how others may perceive my work, I’ve come to embrace fear as a sign that I’m pushing my creative boundaries.

Understanding and acknowledging our creative resistances empowers us to overcome them. I encourage you to create your own list of resistances, as I did, and confront them head-on. Recognize that simply identifying the mental scripts that tell you not to bother is often half the battle won. The next time you find yourself lacking inspiration or motivation, take a moment to acknowledge your resistance and then push forward with your creative pursuits.

In the grand tapestry of the creative journey, there will always be highs and lows. However, what truly matters is the act of creation itself. Embrace imperfections, challenge rationalizations, and let fear guide you toward meaningful artistic endeavors. As a photographer who has faced adversity and risen above it, I can confidently say that the most beautiful moments emerge when we summon the courage to push through resistance and capture the world through our lens.

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