Imagine you’re at a photo shoot. You have models waiting for instructions, clients waiting for their creatives, and then something happens. Your inner critic takes over. So much so that it becomes difficult to work with any degree of freedom. Your every move, your every change of camera setting, and your every shot is vehemently criticized. You are doubted to the point where you start to doubt yourself. You can often shut out someone else speaking to you, but it’s nearly impossible to ignore a voice that comes from within. Canon Australia experimented with photographers to see how they’d respond to their “inner critic”:
A constant criticizing voice can be a disconcerting thing to work with. Especially, if that voice doubts every move you make. It can force you to think differently. It can paralyze your creative process.
For this experiment, the photographers wore headphones, and a person outside the room was assigned to critique and doubt each and every choice the photographer made during a photo shoot.
Many photographers freeze in a situation like this. Few can ignore that voice and keep shooting calmly. The challenge put all the photographers in a spot of bother.
In the second half of the video, the photographers were allowed to take the earphones out. That dramatically changed the scene. All the photographers were visibly relaxed and comfortable doing what they do best. And most importantly, they could finally be themselves.
In the words of the photographers, the presence of the critic in their ears, pushed them and added a lot of pressure. And it was not until they could fade out the critic’s voice that they were able to concentrate on the job at hand and start shooting in a relaxed frame of mind.
They agreed, though, that it wasn’t that they were trying to ignore the inner critic; they were trying to keep it from taking over the creative process.
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