Super Seven, not.
Every year one of the photography groups does this thing where everyone is supposed to go back through your year of photos and pick your favourite or best seven photos. This year the challenge was a bit different in that we were prompted to choose
"the images that got you creatively excited, that made you grow as an artist, that you feel are next level for you, regardless of the response they got online" (Paul Zizka).
People have been posting a lot and telling the story behind the images that made them grow as artists. It's been insightful and fascinating and mind-blowing to look at and read about. This group is chock full of extremely talented people, some of whom I am lucky enough to call personal friends.
When the prompt first came up I was like "Yeah, I need to do that, I'll go look through my old stuff in a couple days."
But as the days have passed, and more and more people have posted, I've pushed it further and further down my list of priorities. To the point where I can't even pretend that I'm not avoiding it.
I'm blatantly avoiding it.
I think that I sort of don't know why, but also I sort of do know why.
I've been feeling pretty fragile, mentally, lately. I've also been feeling pretty down about my photography lately. Yes, I'll admit I've gotten some cool bird photos lately. But I've not taken any self-portraits that I like recently. And I've not taken portraits of another person in a really long time. So I'm feeling un-artistic and un-creative because my self-portraits have been boring. I'm feeling scared to ask people if I can take photos of them, but also sad that I've not been able to take photos of people lately, and scared that if I did find someone to take photos of that I would screw them up.
I'm terrified of this art that I profess to love.
And, I'm terrified to go through my photos from the year and choose a set of seven that got me creatively excited and made me grow as an artist. Because I don't feel like I've grown as a visual artist this year. I don't feel like my photography has improved. I don't feel like anything I shot this year has really pushed me to grow. And it hurts to think that I'm not where I wanted to be by the end of the year with photography.
Logically, I know that's untrue. Obviously, my skills at photographing birds have improved. There are a couple of portraits I shot this year that I really like, and since I've never even tried to shoot portraits in the last few years that's progress.
But right now all I want to do is just look away, and pretend I didn't see the prompt. Pretend that I'm too busy to do it. Avoid the group, avoid looking at other peoples sets, and just hide for a while.
I don't know if this all qualifies as impostor syndrome or not. It's not that I don't think I'm a photographer, and that I don't think I'm a decently ok photographer. It's that, for some reason, thinking about doing this hurts right now.
So, I'm not doing it.
I may still do it later. Who knows. Maybe I'll feel better after getting this all out of my head. But right now, I feel vulnerable and hurt and scared and disappointed in myself. So I'm just going to let that be for now.