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  • Writer's picturepeter

“I Know Nothing” and Other Mantras of Self-Doubt

Updated: Dec 17, 2019

I’ve been serious about photography for about 5 years now. I’ve learned a lot, met interesting people, and had unique experiences due to this passion. From the very beginning, people were telling me I should start a blog. At first, people said it should be about food because I’m such a foodie. Then, people suggested I write about my photographic adventures.

Through all this, I hesitated. Why? Because each time people would make the suggestion that I put myself out there, I would hear a voice in my head. “But Peter, I know nothing.”

Meaning that I have nothing of value to offer. Who do you think you are, Peter, that you would share your thoughts with the world? That you would presume to teach others? That you think you have something of value to give?

The close cousin to this line is, “You don’t know what you’re talking about.” After all, when I pop onto forums, Reddit, and product reviews I see a host of photographers  with well-informed opinions. Compared to the faceless mass of people, what do I know that they don’t?

Here’s another stomach puncher: “Wait until you’re ready.” Wait until you’ve gotten more experience. Wait until you’ve got a portfolio you can really be proud of. Wait until you’ve booked some high-profile clients. You’re simply not there yet. You don’t have the knowledge and perspective you need to go public.

Like so many powerful lies, these have a morsel of truth buried in them. . . under different circumstances.

  • “I know nothing.” Great attitude when I’m trying to learn. But at some point you have to recognize you have some measure of skill and expertise that others don’t.

  • “You don’t know what you’re talking about.” Yeah at some point everyone doesn’t know what they’re talking about. And then you learn, you self-educate yourself. You read books, watch videos, and practice the craft. I don’t know everything, but I at lest know the reasons for my opinions. And if others disagree, that’s fine, too.

  • “Wait until you’re ready.” Yeah, wait until you know how to use a camera before you charge for your services. But waiting until you’re perfect will lead to nowhere. You’re never ready until you do it. Also, “F-ck you, self-doubt.”

So, let’s try to do this. Let’s try to do a weekly blog on my photographic adventures, thoughts about photography in general, and of course the fun toys that come with the journey.

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