A Single Thread In A Tapestry

If you were to share with me, say, your top 200 photos, from your camera roll, or from wherever you store your prized memories and moments, I could easily tell you, in a couple of minutes time, what kind of photographer you were, what, in this world, you considered important, where your photo strengths lie, and even a few suggestions for improving your craft. Yup. Easy peasy.

Your photos, the ones you treasure most and are the proudest of, tell the world, in obvious and subtle ways, so much about who you are, in your core.

Photos, done with honesty and artistry, represent the hush, blush, gush, and rush of life, streaming by our eyes and hearts, here today, gone tomorrow.

In this regard, and in some sense, portfolio and personality are inseparable.

What we seem to feel on the inside, of each of us, proudly and intimately, shows up within the 4 corners of our snapshots, in the outside world of matter, bits, and bytes.

It’s a bit bizarre, perhaps ironic, the devices we use to take photos, in our portfolios, have changed drastically, over time and season, but the story and narrative behind building a body-of-work haven’t really changed that much.

It takes discipline, drive, and determination to build out a body of work that is outspoken, legitimate, truthful, reputable, balanced, principled. Many try, few succeed.

Whether with phone cameras or dedicated cameras…it’s still photography.

And the process and mechanics behind assembling our best-of-best seems to remain, unchanged.

If I looked over your collection of favorites and observed that, as a whole, generally speaking, this bank of images looked unified, cohesive, branded, styled, curated, consistent, I would say that, you’ve done a pretty decent job, over the years, at sitting at the alter of self-validation and listening to that small voice inside you.

Nice work. Keep it going. Don’t stop now. The best is still yet to come.

If, on the other hand, this bank of imagery, that I was observing, looked more like a random stockpile of unconnected, unlinked, unassociated sampling of this app or that app, this technique or that technique, this filter or that filter, this preset or that preset, this color grading or that color grading, this effect or that effect, I would conversely suggest that, instead of being true to your own vision and voice, you have, perhaps, unknowingly, paid too much attention to the vision and voice of others.

To thine on self be true.

The way forward in photography is to try your very best, not to just follow and feed popular micro trends and fashions, but be honestly and sincerely true to yourself.

When I show you photographs, on this feed, I’m not really showing them to enlist and elicit positive responses. Although, your affirmative feedback is admittedly nice and assuring.

Instead, I’m showing and sharing these photos, because I like them because they represent my vision and voice, and I want you to feel, even if in a small way, some of what I see and feel in life, as I move and meander through the cracks, crevices, and creases of mortality. Click.

It honestly took me a long time, in my own photography career, to just stick and click to what I loved and avoid the rest, at all costs. It really did. Better late than never.

Early on, I chased more validation, corroboration, substantiation to the photos I created and shared. That likely had to do less with my artist choices, at the time, and more to do with my insecurities about my own work.

Then, thankfully, somehow, somewhere along the way, I learned, “One man’s treasure is another man’s trash.” Bingo.

Think of every photo you ever take as a single thread in a glorious tapestry

“A single thread in a tapestry

Though its color brightly shines

Can never see its purpose

In the pattern of the grand design”

Prince of Egypt

Sometimes we can’t always see the whole until the parts are complete.

Build your tapestry, one beautiful thread at one beautiful time.

I speak here, on this topic, from so much fullness, so much passion, so much experience, so much surety, and confidence. This is my photography wisdom of the ages. It is born out of time-tested, practical knowledge and grounding.

Just be yourself. Feed, fuel, and fertilizer that small voice inside you. Awaken the artist within you. Shoot what turns you on and makes your heartbeat loudly and uncontrollably. Ignore your critics. Believe in yourself. Be the artist that you know you are and were born to be. Self-validate at every turn imaginable. If you like it, shoot and share it, with unfettered enthusiasm and exuberance.

Make it your mission, in photography, to make sure your own photos represent your own uniqueness, distinctiveness, individuality, rarity

Your tapestry is beautiful. You are beautiful. Your photos are beautiful.



Jack Hollingsworth