Creating art that really means something to us and putting it out to the world can be a particularly scary thing. It’s often super challenging not to post what you think everybody wants to see. Street photographer Sean Tucker believes that the ego plays a key role in staying true to oneself. At the same time, it can get in the way. Here’s what he has to say about finding the balance to help you be the best photographer you can be:
“Part of me suspects that I’m a loser. And the other part of me thinks I’m God Almighty.” –John Lennon
Many people think that the ego is something bad and has to be fought against, yet in reality, the ego isn’t good or bad. In fact, it’s essential for any artist.
Our ego can help us to back ourselves in the face of criticism. At the same time, it can also make us feel separate and superior to everyone else, and that can get us off track from making beautiful things. According to Tucker, there’s a balance that has to be struck between using the ego to give your work proper focus and keeping it from getting out of control, thinking you’re superior to others.
“If you do what you want to do in any art form the way you want to do it for you alone, you’re bulletproof.”
Tucker believes (and I agree with him) that the best art you can do is that which you do for yourself. Of course, you have to first discover what you want to say, what it is you want to put out to the world, which is often even more difficult than standing up for it.
Once you have it, being able to stand up for it takes a strong sense of self—in short, the ego. Just be careful of success, though, as the quality of most artists’ work falls off once they’re put on a pedestal (the negative side of the ego). That’s where you’ll need to find the balance.
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