I'm nervous and I feel like I'm not qualified to be a "speaker" anywhere.. what a ridiculous thought! me, a "speaker"! since I'm completely self taught, I'm willing to bet that half of them know more than I do anyway. but I think I'm going to speak about some of my experiences and my troubles.
I want to tell about the amazing people along the way. and how delving into something that you're passionate about can lead you across the world or even just to another town that you've never been to before. I want to tell them how it changes your perspective, how you change as a person because of it.
I want to tell them that getting attention is a blessing and a curse. It brings you to meet amazing people, it's an ego booster, and it gives you power to change the lives of those who follow your work (or even stumble across it) and the opportunity for a stranger to change yours.
but it's so, so limiting. first of all, I've already let myself get caught up in whatever "popularity" and attention I have attained through my photography. It's essential to not let yourself become satisfied, because when you do, it's crap. you forget yourself. you lose what made you special. second of all, you start to feel pressure to stick to a certain style. for example, I still upload what I like on deviantart, BUT I don't upload some photos that I really love because I don't think they are what my watchers want to see.
this kind of thing manifests in another, more imperative way. I don't stray too much from a certain style on my main site, deviantart, in order to adhere to a certain style and standard that I feel the professional world wants to see. in order to give myself the best chance of actual success, I feel that I have to limit myself to certain things.
another interesting catch-- as you become "good" enough that you start being able to work with real models, it's easy to find yourself relying on their beauty and talent for pretty pictures. it's easy to stray from your style when you see how perfectly and easily they could fit into a norm. I think that's hard to understand, so let me explain. I just had a shoot with a beautiful and talented model. her face would be *perfect* for a makeup ad, or something like that. I'd see the opportunity to take photos that really looked like they could be in a magazine (because of her look, not necessarily because of my camera "skills"), and it distracted me from my normal style. my photos were a struggle between what her look practically begged to be used for and what I was going for. the result? photos that are "good", but not me. I'm not comfortable with them, and I'm not particularly proud of them, even though the shoot was a ton of fun and the model was fantastic.
also, I miss my old creativity. I don't feel forced to be creative and do something cool or out of the ordinary to stand out anymore. I'm a lazy person, so that's no good. I'm in such a struggle with myself right now. I feel the need to strip this new me back down to basics so I can think clearly again. I want to improve.
lastly, I'm scared that improvement will lead to lack of soul. that I'll conform to what is already in the industry and by "copying" that look or feel or idea, I'll achieve success but lose what made me special in the first place.
I guess that was pretty long, sorry! I just wanted to say it all, cause it's been on my mind lately.