My Fear of Failure

To start this blog I need to share a story from earlier this year. I was asked by a good friend of mine to take pictures at a party she was hosting. I jumped at the chance and was delighted to have been asked. We prepped the afternoon of the party and everything was set. As guests started arriving I realized this was a big party and was wondering what I had got myself into. Was I good enough to pull this off?

One of the guests happened to be a professional photographer, yes a real one who actually has their own studio and makes a living at it. The impact this had on me was startling, I suddenly started apologizing to this photographer for my work, for being there, in fact anything I could think of as I recall. He probably thought I was a total nut, I certainly would have. He didn’t say a whole lot, but was encouraging and got on with enjoying his evening. As I reflect on this, it exposed my fear of being a fraud, that I’m not really a photographer. I’m just playing at it and I might not be very good at it. For those of you who know me well, being viewed as not very good would be a serious blow to my self image, the person who can do anything if I put my mind to it.

As I have reflected on this episode over the holidays, I can see a bigger mental system at work. I want to become a highly proficient photographer. At the same time I want to jealously guard my self image of being a successful person. In this instance, these two commitments are in direct opposition which  likely results in a stalemate where they balance each other out. In the meantime, I exert a tremendous amount of energy protecting my self image and at the same time necessarily risk failure. The risk of failure will come from taking on new assignments that stretch me to develop into the photographer I aspire to be.

Coming to this insight is very liberating. So what am I to do about it?  I have to recognize I am a relative beginner on this path to becoming an accomplished photographer and perhaps have to set my own expectations at a bit more of a realistic level.  I have already taken some great pictures and I’ve taken thousands of bad ones and I accept that.  I will fall flat on my face sometimes and that is part of my journey, something I need to embrace by taking that risk.  My self image can take a few knocks!

Here’s to making a few more steps and stumbles on my journey in 2013.  Thanks for following me and I look forward to sharing my future successes and failures with you. I have outlined a few of my failed pictures from 2012 below, enjoy!  🙂

Happy New Year!

Have you heard the dirt in Africa is special!

The Dirt of Africa

Nice job with the flash…you can hardly notice it

Subtle Flash

On the other hand, where’s the mushroom cloud?

Blow Out

This could have been great if I was going for the silhouette…where is the flash when you need it?


I took 150 different pictures of these kids trying to get the right shot.  Getting both the ball and all the players in frame would have been nice!  Spot the Ball

You can see these girls really enjoyed working with me!

We love to have our picture taken!

You may ask whether this girl was walking backwards?  Nope, that’s just my special effect of having her light trail in front of her, kinda cool don’t you think!?!

First Curtain

What a nice composition and I managed to get two of three women out of focus; I don’t see many top shooters able to do that!


One thought

  1. Your honesty is refreshing, Andy, and for a newby, your photos look amazing. For a professional, you have some amazing ones!!!

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