“You Make Me Feel Like Shit”.

A few weeks back, a good friend and visiting photographer to Austin, around my age, texted me to want to catch up, and asked to buy me a beer or two.

Of course, I quickly responded. I love this guy and love talking about photography with him. We go way back.
We drank and small-talked for the better part of an hour.

But I could tell, something, deeper was eating at him?

Finally, deep into round three, he blurted out, “You make me feel like shit”.

I thought he was kidding…. but dead serious.


Like me, this friend is a skilled, storied, and award-winning commercial photographer, but doesn’t do much photography anymore, other than a few shots of his pet and relished garden.

So be it.

“Tell me more”, I said, with a humble smile, “Why do I make you feel like shit”?

I won’t go into everything about the conversation, because there was a lot to unpack, besides photography, but the gist of it was that he felt like I was, at 69, still passionate and productive in, with, and about photography. And he was not.

And that made him feel like a slacker. And more to the point…like shit.

In a roundabout way, I told him, respectively, politely and humbly, I had zero control over how he, right or wrong, good or bad, sized me up.

I could only control what I felt about myself, not how he felt about me.

How he felt about my enthusiasm and vision, for iPhone photography, and life, was on him, not me.

I kept coming back to tell him, in different ways, I can only be myself. And you can only be who you are.

Maybe the simple lesson here is to not let other people’s high-powerness become your low-powerness.

Just be yourself. And let others be themselves. It takes a village.

Somebody out there, in photography and life, will, unquestionably, always be doing “more”, “better”, “faster” than you.

Don’t look over your shoulder. Look straight ahead.

The honest truth is, and some here may not believe me, the photographic work I shoot and share, here, online, is mostly for me, not anyone else.

I do it because I love the process and the product of photography.

I’m crazy in love with photography. Period.

I’m not doing this just to be cool, relevant, modern, validated, pumped up
I’m doing it because every part of me pushes and pulls me in this direction. I want to do it. I love doing it. It makes me proud and happy inside.

Granted, more than most, I have a seemingly, endless wellspring of vision, mission, and passion when it comes to my photography.

I can’t help it.

It’s who I am, in my core, in my genes, in my DNA.

No matter how people respond to both who we are and the work we create, most importantly, we have to listen to the still small voice in us, that muse, that best friend, that spirit-guide, and keep doing what we were born to do. Click.

I hate making anyone feel small, especially in the shadow of my own humble attainments and attachments.
But I hate, even more, making myself feel small, in photography, by not shooting and sharing and celebrating, the heart and soul of how I see the world.



Jack Hollingsworth