To Thine Own Self Be True

Shakespeare, Hamlet, Act-I, Scene-III, Lines 78-82

I keep wondering why so many of us, even to the point of exhaustion, work so tirelessly and feverishly, obviously and subtly, at trying to be someone other than our true selves.

I don’t get it. Stop. Be yourself.

Is it because at some core level, we just don’t like ourselves?

Or, is it because we, blindly, admire others so much, we want to be more like them and less like us?

Or is simply loving and accepting ourselves that herculean?

In humans, each cell contains 23 pairs of chromosomes, for a total of 46.

Our chromosomes exist in matching pairs-with one chromosome of each pair being inherited from each biological parent.

Believe it or not, accept it or not, celebrate it or not, honor it or not, each of us, every last one of us, from head to toe, inside to outside, is blissfully and marvelously unique. We are. We really, really are.

No one on this planet is exactly like us.

My intuition and experience tell me, over and over again, that we never really find our true selves, until we can honestly look in the mirror, warts, wrinkles, scars and all, and pay homage to what we see looking back at us.

“Be yourself. Everyone else is already taken.” Oscar Wilde

The very best in us never gets rightly framed or claimed, until we own all the best puzzle parts and pieces that make us… remarkably, singularly, outstandingly… us.

Truth. Self-ownership. Individuality. Authenticity. These are the hallmarks and earmarks of self-acceptance and self-appreciation.

This necessary self-approving, self-adopting, self-adapting isn’t just true in life, but also true in photography

As a committed, even compulsive, decade-long, globe-trotting, picture-snapping iPhone photographer, I keep wondering why, as I experience this, there seems to be so much authenticity in taking phone-camera photography in general, and iPhone photography in particular?

I mean, the whole mobile photography experience, from beginning to end, shooting both banal and animated subjects, feels true, trustworthy, credible, reliable, for real, actual, faithful, bona fide. Why?

I can’t, obviously, speak for all mobile photographers, but this legitimacy seems to come from the device’s availability and familiarity-it’s always with us. And I mean always with us!

Mobile photography, in my world, helps me, first and foremost, be true to my own self.

True to my vision, true to my style, true to the subjects I shoot, true to the techniques I employ, true to my humble workflow, true to the device I use, true to my inner-heart pulls and promptings.

Back in my big-camera days, I would have considered myself a pretty devoted and dedicated photographer. During the zenith of my career, it wasn’t at all untypical for me to shoot, say, 10-20+ days of commercial photography per month, consistently, for years and years.

But when I went home at night, or out for coffee or drinks with friends, or chilled-out on the weekend, guess what, no camera. It was too much of a hassle.

I was running a photographic business but not living a photographic life.

And, of course, with this, I felt like I lost some of my authenticity, originality, genuineness.

Now, so thankfully, the iPhone is always in my pocket, man purse, or shoulder bag, 24/7, 365.

Availability and familiarity breed authenticity.

To thine own self be true

When you have a phone camera, in your pocket, as I do, you are never more than an arm’s reach away from photography creation, beautifying, sharing. It’s glorious.

I’m thinking about all the experiences, emotions and events, I missed, with my big camera, because I didn’t have one in my hands.

But I do have an iPhone in my hands. She is another set of eyes for me. She is my imagination realized, in tech form. She is my friend and lover. She is my therapist and counselor. She is my art critic and curator. She is my documentarian and recorder of life, love, laughter. She is a mirror that helps me see beauty in myself.

Most importantly, she is my authenticity.

And to my own self, I will be true



Jack Hollingsworth