We all stumble in life, but failures don’t define us. In fact, how we deal with the challenges that life throws at us makes it failure or a life’s lesson.
In sharing my story, I hope it resonates with others going through similar challenges. Embracing failure, navigating through emotional turmoil, and finding solace in art and music can be powerful tools for personal and artistic growth.
There are two types of failures. One is when things don’t work out as planned. When we tried hard, did the best we could but didn’t achieve what we hoped for.
These moments are painful, no doubt about it. But the way we overcome them is pretty straight forward. There will always be another opportunity, another project, another chance to create. The best way to deal with this kind of crisis is to make note of the lessons learned and get back on track.
I’ve been stuck in an elevator once and it took a while till help came. I used the elevator the same day before this experience van turn into something bigger.
And then there is another type of failure that hits us hard. This second kind of failure is more challenging, as it deeply questions who we are, our purpose and passion in what we do.
Let me take you through one such experience I faced recently.
In my artistic journey there are moments from time to time when I reflect where I stand how I have developed and where I want to go.
This time it was different: I was deeply unhappy of what I was doing. I felt like I have plateaued in my craft. I have worked with models, and it seemed to me that my work was lacking of a deeper meaning. All I did was taking pretty pictures of pretty people. I did not make a difference with my art, so why should anybody care.
As i cope with this artistic crisis, I found myself going through various stages similar to the stages of grief and loss: denial, anger, and bargaining.
I wanted to push through this emotional state I was in. There was no way that this phase is going to block me. I became very hard to myself and to the ones around me.
What if I buy me a new camera? What if I sent my pictures to magazines und awards? I tried to find alternative ways for myself that allowed me to continue my photography and ignored to deal with what bothered me in the first place.
Being creative is generally a good idea to process our emotions and what we are going through. But I choose the same medium to do this that I was struggling with. When I looked at the pictures of the shooting, I realized that I could form a narrative with the images. Something I aspired to achieve all the time. I also delved into darker themes in my art which was an eye opener. But this was also double painful for me because the core issue of my crisis remained unresolved.
Music became my good companion in this. Listening to music was always a way I coped with my emotions. It gives me a space where I feel safe to really go deep into my feelings and that allows me to experience it all. Recently I discovered Bruce Springsteen’s Darkness at the Edge of the Town. His songs made me feel that I am not alone in this, that there is someone who will go with me as I walk through this dark tunnel, not sure if there will be a light at the end.
Through this process of self-reflection and self-awareness, I reaffirmed my dedication to photography and refused to give up on what I love doing and what gives me joy and a sense of fulfilment. It helped realise what truly matters to me: I want my pictures to be the good companions just like Bruce Springsteen’s songs were to me. That my images speak to your heart so that you can really get involved in them when feel low and are in need of a good companion by your side.