Fake It ‘Till We Make It

I’ve been a photographer for a long time; some might even accuse me of being an artist. I don’t like labels, so I will continue to resist these labels and settle for being just a photographer. But one thing has remained constant throughout my life as a photographer: the struggle to create art. Even after 30 plus years I still struggle with the question: “Am I a real artist?”

As I was reading Steal Like an Artist, I realized chapter two had some pretty insightful things to say on this phenomena. Even if you follow there advice and look to your heroes to study, copy, emulate, attribute, transform, remix their influences until your source material becomes your own. Even if you do all of this successfully, then what? If you are like me you may still feel like a fake. I ask myself all of the time: Am I a REAL artist?

It turns out I am not alone in this feeling and they even have a name for it: impostor syndrome or the “psychological phenomenon in which people are unable to internalize their accomplishments.” It means that feeling like a phony, a fake, a charlatan, is perfectly normal.

Earlier this year the EMP asked me to be apart of a one night only panel of experts on different areas of the Lego community. I was billed as the “expert” Lego photographer. I laughed and told people I was an “expert in my field” (complete with air quotes). But little did I realize that maybe I am an expert in my field. Ok, I will admit it’s a very small field, one that has just a handful of participants. But hey, I am an expert! If the EMP called me one, I must be one! I’m going to go out on a limb and call Me2 an expert too. (I hope he doesn’t mind.)

Which leads me to the most important question: Are you an artist? Are you an expert in toy photography? If so, let me know. Let’s be experts together, we can fake it until we all make it…together.

– xxsjc

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Jon Aiken
9 years ago

I think I can reasonably claim to be the foremost expert in prehistoric toy photography. Which, I’d argue, is a noticeably smaller subset to be an expet in, but still worth representing when asked.

Shelly Corbett
9 years ago
Reply to  Jon Aiken

I would completely agree!! I tell people I am an expert in macro lego photography, shot outdoors and usually involving moss and a very short DOF. I think I have that one covered!

Shelly Corbett
9 years ago

This comment has been removed by the author.

Lyn Miller-Lachmann
9 years ago

Nope, not an expert, which is one of the reasons I’m reading your blog–to get better. At the same time, you’ve inspired me to write about my own artistic journey and the challenges of photography compared to writing. Thank you!

Shelly Corbett
9 years ago

I look forward to seeing what you write. As far as the artistic journey goes – I could write a novel! In the mean time I will make sure I include a few more editing tips for you.

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