Comparing Myself to Other Photojournalists

Four photographers make four different images.
Four photographers make four different images.

A wise person once said, “Comparison is the thief of joy.”

Periodically photojournalists around the country post their content to social media. I see their work in their timelines and inevitably compare my work to theirs.

It’s unfair to both them and me.

First, it’s completely futile to look at the work of others as a threat to my ego.

Secondly, they are in different communities with different newspapers.

Thirdly, all I have to do is browse some of my own images to realize I am producing my own great work.

The real trick in the current photography ecosystem is to let go, completely, of the idea that you want to make the same pictures as other photographers. Sometimes I hear people say of my own work, “Wow, I want to make that picture. Where was that?”

Don’t even go there. If you do, you aren’t an artist or a photographer, but a stenographer, dutifully copying another’s work.

Instead, try to look at the images you like as inspiration. Sure, you might want to photograph the Grand Canyon the way that I did, but I already did that. So did, for that matter, about 10,000 photographers that day.

It’s okay to get inspired by the photography of others, but copying it is boring. I won’t expound on ideas about how to get inspired by photographs, other than to say that the central idea is to understand how you feel about a photograph.

It is absolutely true that I have taken a ton of pictures at Utah’s Delicate Arch, and that there are always dozens or even hundreds of photographers there every day, but I have a special claim to it: I got married there. This image is of Abby and me at Delicate Arch on our sixth anniversary in 2010.
It is absolutely true that I have taken a ton of pictures at Utah’s Delicate Arch, and that there are always dozens or even hundreds of photographers there every day, but I have a special claim to it: I got married there. This image is of Abby and me at Delicate Arch on our sixth anniversary in 2010.

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