Okay, so don't be fooled by the silly title of this post. This entry will probably be a long rant of seriousness. So your probably wondering what am I even talking about. What the heck did Leonardo DiCaprio teach me about being an artist. I obviously don't know him personally, and I don't particularly follow his career. Yes I had a mad crush on him in his Romeo days. (What teenage girl didn't?) but after that I have only seen a few of his movies.
That being said this is what Leonardo DiCaprio has taught me. So we all know that poor Leo has been snubbed several times from winning an oscar. Right? Everyone was sure that after he was Gatsby that he would for sure win an oscar. Nope, just didn't happen. I found myself thinking about Leo one day and what he must think about the fact that he is always nominated but never wins. I wondered if by this point he just doesn't care anymore because well he's rolling in millions and hanging out with some of the hottest people in the world. Then again I wondered if maybe just maybe he feels like it is a goal he really wants to achieve.
At first I felt kind of bad that he hadn't won one. I mean Titanic, What's eating Gilberts Grape?, Gatsby and countless more movies he has shown that he is an amazing actor. Then I thought. No, I actually like the fact that he doesn't need to have this "right of passage". He doesn't need to have some man trophy to justify the fact that he is an amazing actor. He can create amazing work that satisfies his creative soul without having some academy tell him that he is worth it.
I have this tendency to compare everything in the world to photography. My husband talks about his job which is all about technology and managing people. Completely has nothing really to do with the photographic world and yet I will find way to compare what he does to something within the world of photography.
So Leo made me realize something about myself and the industry that I am a part of. We constantly feel like we should be validated. Have someone better then us (usually someone we consider to be better then us, but whom are just other human beings) someone like a gallery manager, an agent, another photographer a magazine editor or even a client tell us that what we are doing is great and to validate that we are really good at what we do. We usually put others on this pedestal. Who hasn't felt a surge of joy when a very popular industry professional happened to maybe like our work or share our work. I know from experience the few times it's happened to me I was overjoyed.
Why do we feel this need to have others tell us that what we are doing is worth while? Why can't we just know in our hearts that what we are doing is worth it? Maybe it's our humanity. Telling us that we need to connect with others. Telling us that we need to please those around us.
I enjoy the fact that Leo hasn't won an Oscar mainly because it gives me hope. Hope that I can still create amazing pieces of art without needing some hierarchy of magical people to validate that my work is worth it.
I used to look at some of the connections that other photographers had. I would get sad when I realized that I wish I had made those connections. Sometimes no matter how hard we try we just don't fit well with specific people. I have found that this has happened a few times. Sometimes being friends or being trendy will get you further in this industry then actually having mind blowing work. I used to want others to recognize how hard I was working and to validate my work.
Not anymore. As with everything photography is a massive journey for me and everyday I am learning more and more. Everyday I am learning about myself within the artistic, fashion and client based world of photography and let me tell you each world is much different then the next. Each little world comes with it's own challenges.
I am started to embrace my artistic vision much more these days. I am starting to work on projects that mean something to me. I am working with people who inspire me to no end. It's not about shooting the latest trends, or collecting new faces for my portfolio (nothing against the new face gals, I still love you and want to shoot with you) but I would rather create a well thought out story to photograph rather then just throwing a shoot together just because I wanted to shoot something "trendy".
I often think that maybe the world is just not ready for my style yet and PLEASE don't get me wrong I know that I have been very lucky to have plenty of wonderful connections, clients and published worked. So please don't take this the wrong way. I guess people just don't realize how much rejection we actually face.
For now a lot of my work is a bit more out there. My fashion isn't commercial based and unfortunately I live where everything is more commercial, my wedding isn't cookie cutter. It's romantic and whimsical, and my artistic project has got a lot of attention and sometimes not the best kind. However, I can promise time and time again that when I pick up my camera I am 100000% dedicated to creating the best that I possibly can.
I never half ass anything I do. I love photography and will take pictures until I can no longer use my arms or until I go blind. Hell I'd even find a way if that happened. One day the world will be ready for my fashion styled shoots, and the more and more I shoot weddings the more I find my clients are appreciating the dedication and the love that goes into each photo they receive.
So don't let anyone else tell you if your work is worth it or not. Be proud of your work. Don't delete it after a week. Hold onto it. Show others that you will continue to grow. Love taking pictures, and if you feel down or blue start a project to keep your creativity flowing.
Thank you Leo. xx