God spare me from the desire for love, approval, and appreciation. Amen.

“God spare me from the desire for love, approval, and appreciation. Amen.” — Byron Katie

14 thoughts on “God spare me from the desire for love, approval, and appreciation. Amen.”

  1. “God spare me from the desire for love, approval, and appreciation. Amen.” — Byron Katie

    I take something different away from that quote… All too often we only think of ourselves. If you start thinking of others then you will receive all that and more.

    I can’t help but be reminded of Brandon Heath’s song “Give Me Your Eyes”. (As an aside, every time I hear it, I picture myself walking down the street taking photos of everyone mentioned.)

  2. Sorry, the desire for love, approval and appreciation is the one thing that all humans have in common. Everybody wants to be loved.

    If this photography was just for you, why would you post it on a public blog?

    I wanna light paint the dumpster(?) full of giant chocodiles. That’s beyond surreal.

  3. Joe, I think I kinda get what you’re saying, at least from my perspective. Too often, in my own work, I find myself making photography with other people in mind.

    It’s been a goal of mine all along to share my work with others. And in order to get people to enjoy my photography, I have shot in a manner that I think is mostly pleasing to a generic audience (and myself as well, to some degree).

    It’s a complicated issue for me. I’ve not really put that much thought into it. But, two months ago, I suddenly had a very different and strange thought: “what if I made photos that were entirely based on my own personal desires and wants?”. I pondered what would happen if I completely laid aside some of the common “rules” (guidelines) that make photos more generically pleasing (e.g. rule of thirds, better light, etc.).

    I am shooting as per my inner desires to some degree, but they are intertwined with those “rules” (guidelines). And sometimes my initial response to a scene is covered up or overruled by them. And, truthfully, sometimes my inner photo voice is in-line with what I think is best for the generic audience.

    It’s an interesting thought, at least for me. It would take some work for me to strip away everything but my own, very personal and inner photo thoughts and desires. I wonder what the result would be?

  4. TJ – you nailed it. I want my pictures to be purified of any thought or worry about what other people think.
    I want to allow myself the freedom and confidence to produce work that thrills me. Your wording works well — “…to strip away everything but my own, very personal inner photo thoughts and desires.” Do I need anything else in my pictures? If traveling in this photographic territory doesn’t work I’ll switch to making macramé plant holders or something.

    I’ve observed a lot of photographers who are striving for attention using various well trodden photographic formulas. In one recent case a photographer was trolling for accolades using a formula I helped formalize (not going to get specific here). I did Byron Katie’s “the work” on why this bothered me so much. The turnaround was enlightening — I was having a strong reaction against other people jumping up and down saying “look at me!” because I’ve been guilty of doing this myself. I’m making peace with that idea, and letting the past go. Starting now I want to challenge myself to do something intense and personal — to make photos that thrill me. If they thrill a few other people along the way then that’s the icing on the cake. But this type of cake is OK whether it has icing or not.

  5. Amen Joe, but don’t get me started on this subject. I think we keep coming back to this and I wonder if it has something to do with some kind of blog/web quilt. I read a recent interview by a former pro skater who said everything is lame now because everything that is cool can be found or looked at online where before you actually had to seek it out.

    It takes balls to shoot just for yourself without showing it in a gallery or post it online. It also takes guts to shoot just for the hell of it without over thinking all this stuff or worse, talking yourself out of it.

    Look at me. I am online.

  6. Jay – you’re in a little bit of different boat because it’s your business to say “Look at me.” That’s how you get clients.
    At one time I considered myself a “transitional” photographer and was concerned about testing the marketing waters to see if I could bridge the gap between a day job and photography career. The testing period has been over for a while. I’m an artist with a day job now — proud and happy to say that line.

    Unlike some other artists I know who just aren’t good at marketing, I understand what’s necessary, I just don’t like it. You told me almost 10 years ago that the photography business is 10% photography and 90% business — this axiom is still as true as it ever was. So maybe I’m 90% photography and 10% business. Still gonna take more work to get the numbers balanced, but I’m getting pretty close to optimized.

  7. Joe, this really is what it’s all about. Recently I thought I might participate in a portfolio review during the local photo fest. But I know they’re going to ask me what I want to do with my photography, and the only answer I really have is to enjoy myself. I don’t need to be reviewed to get that enjoyment.

    Once again, why do we blog? As we’ve determined in the past, a lot of it is the “Look @ Me” aspect, but today there feels like a Speaker’s Corner component. No one has to agree or even be listening. The speaking and performing is part of the process.

    I’ve not heard of Katie before, but it’s a great quote.

  8. TJ Avery, Thanks for bringing me here. Very interesting words as photography is also for me very emotional and personal. An extension of my own senses and quite often of my own words.
    Will get back here soon, have much to say about it all…
    Be well… Ara & Spirit

  9. Just FYI – I pointed Ara here because of what he’d written recently:


    He wrote about some comments he got from readers suggesting that he make his blog more positive and upbeat and stop writing about the bad things in life.

    It all made me think of this post here on Joe’s blog. Ara’s writing and photography is pretty close to being “pure”. Ara’s journey has been documented by his words and photos in his own unique style. To me, he’s not been influenced much by outside effects (i.e. not shooting photos that appeal to the masses).

    Just take a look at his photography. It’s different, it’s unique, it’s him.

  10. Ara, thanks for visiting — I’ve put your blog into my feedreader, and look forward to reading more about your travels.

    TJ – thanks for following up and making these connections!

  11. A lot of your comments ring true for me. The camera does make you more aware of your surroundings. It helps you focus—even if you prefer blurry pictures.

    The whole love, approval, and acceptance thing is trickier. Troy’s point is hard to argue with—we do all love positive attention—but there’s a freedom that comes from doing your art for yourself and not worrying about comments, critics, or worst of all, being ignored. If happiness is the goal, then making yourself the chief audience for your work is a good place to start.

    p.s. Thanks for the chocodile pointer.

  12. Steve – exactly right, picture making with the goal of making yourself happy is the only place to start. I’m not arguing Troy’s point that people want love, approval, and acceptance. The question really is this: if the desire for love, approval and acceptance influences a photographer’s picture making too much, then does the picture making start to get a bit hollow?

    I’m not suggesting that I can be completely free of the desire for love, approval and acceptance. I just want to be conscious that these desires don’t cloud my own personal reasons for creating images. In a sense, Byron Katie is hinting at a very interesting spiritual question: does the desire for love, approval, and acceptance help create any lasting happiness? I would add, do these desires block us from creating more personal, meaningful images?

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