Several months ago, I started listening to the negativity. I paid attention to the armchair critics who lament the death of the photography industry. They sit back and criticize everyone else's work, values, or abilities. They don't care what stage someone is at in their learning. All they care about is that they think it's destroying their business. They complain that cameras are too easy to obtain, that there are too many weekend warriors or soccer mom photographers. They also complain that people use too much photoshop or not enough photoshop. No one can do right except them.
I was torn in several directions. Do I create straight images or do I pursue my fantasy digital art? Do I follow fashion and themed imagery or do I realize I will never make it in the industry because I can't live up to all that these critics complain about?
On top of being torn about where I should go with my work, I was becoming overly critical of my work. Then, while under this negative influence, I started becoming overly critical of others work and I started to close myself off, quitting groups I used to take joy in participating. I became lost in this downward spiral of negativity, something that is uncharacteristic of me. I was losing myself, I was losing my connection to my work, and I was dreading doing any of my upcoming concepts.
Fortunately, several events snapped me out of this funk. I reconnected with a positive influence on my work, I went ahead and did the concepts and enjoyed myself and the teams immensely, and the groups that I left reached out wanting me in their fold. In addition to that, a tremendously talented photographer that I follow and admire wrote a Facebook post regarding those criticizing him, telling him he's not a real photographer because he only works on the weekends, shaming him for being blue collar. Keep in mind, this photographer who had to defend himself is widely popular and sought after by many large publications...and yet, people still had the nerve to tell him he's not a photographer.
After these positive events and after reading this incredibly gifted photographer's struggle with critics , I realized that I had been a fool. I am ashamed to have listened to the critics and to have fallen into this creative depression.
We as creatives should be supporting each other. We should be holding each other up, helping when we can, and working together to strengthen the community and the industry. There will always be the negative few who speak louder than the rest, but remember that most people are supportive, myself included. When asked, I am always happy to help or teach (if I can). I am willing to give kind words or constructive advice. Just as I am open to accepting the same (there is a difference between being critical and offering constructive critique when asked).
Do not let the negative and overly critical steal your joy. Do what you love. The rest will follow.