I suck, I am awesome

In the spotlight at Zouk Singapore, by Charlene Winfred.

I am the worst commercial photographer in the world. I am a niche photographer, actually a niche within the niche, and I only like and want to do one thing – music photography. And actually, I am not a generic music photographer either, I only work inside the electronic music scene, the music that I breathe, bleed and love. Over ten years working in photography and I have peeled it down to just my all obsessive passion: documenting the electronic music scene. I am not a full-time professional photographer, nor have I ever been. Always made money on the side with various other stuff, like Coffee and Magic. No corporate portraits, drones, weddings, commercials, sport, celebrity red carpet shoots, no weddings for me. Nothing. I shoot what I like. Told you, I am the worst commercial photographer in the world. I know I will never make a full-time living from documenting the electronic music scene, and I have to soon find another job on the side to fund my passion. I am now ok with that. I have to be, it is the only way to fund my passion, unless there is a really rich angel investor out there for me!? Holler if that is you!

This happens daily in my brain:

“I suck. My pictures suck. Everyone’s better than me. Luckier than me. I am way too old. I am a dinosaur in a scene of young people. I am tired of the photography world. I am broke, I have had my run. It will ruin my life. It is too hard. I am going to give it all up. Oh, and I suck!”

Then I get to be part of a great event and the loud beats are like rocket fuel for my brain:

“This is what I was born to do. This music is the best I have ever heard. These pictures will be the best I have ever made. I will work harder, I will make pictures that stand out, I am relevant, I belong here, I love this, I wish this music never ended. I am awesome, this feels right.”

And then repeat that on and off every other day. Welcome to my brain. Is this normal? Does your brain work like this?

I am still Dreaming out Loud as I wrote about last year. I still want to be the best music photographer in the electronic music scene. I am awesome. I love every chance I get to document a great event. But I also want to give it all up. I suck. My pictures suck too.  There’s a 50/50 chance this heavy rocket will blow up on the launchpad. But how will I know if I don’t light the engines. But those engines will bankrupt me. But then, I might get to go to Mars…

There are voices in my head. Thank you for listening to us. Stay tuned!


In my element, Zouk Singapore. Screenshot from our movie “Dual Vision”.

8 Comments on “I suck, I am awesome”

  1. Flemming, you have probably summed up what many photographers feel and mentally conflict with daily, hourly, all-the-time-ly. And I certainly do.
    Thank you for sharing. Knowing that pros and role models like yourself struggle with self belief helps the small fries like me carry on wrestling, sometimes winning, sometimes conceding, but ultimately following this post, knowing that I’m not alone and we can continue to encourage that inner voice to change to tones of encouragement and contentment with what is shot and how they look.
    This is the sort of inspirational post that the masses involved in this wonderful world of photography need to hear and I hope they do along with those electronic beats and musical undertones you so love to listen to and shoot.
    Muchly appreciated my friend.

    1. Iain, my dear friend, thank you as always for the awesome words. And for calling me a role model, that is quite something 🙂 I struggle with it all the time, not only self belief but also while I love being part of the music scene I must admit I feel that for the photography scene, I have an equal attraction/loathing thing going on!

  2. What you describe is probably more the rule than the exception for photographers. Self-doubt alternating with appreciation of your own work seems to be a characteristic of the job. I know some truly well-known photographers who have these feelings regularly. Knowing their work you would never assume they did; we know them as simply great.
    I’d say don’t worry too much. At least not more than I do. 😉

    1. Hehe 🙂 Thank you Carsten, we are all in the same boat then. One thing I forgot to add in the blog post, is how much I do believe I do also need those voices. As much as they get me down, I do shoot really well when I am mega annoyed at either myself or someone else and feel I have something to prove 🙂

      1. Back in the days when we shot, I met a very famous NatGeo photographer in Mexico. When I told him that I usually don’t like my pictures until a few months after I took them, he decribed his feelings whenever he comes back from an assignment and sees his developed photos with these words: “The first time it always looks like shit”.

        1. That is how I feel too hehe. I will try not to look at my pictures right after a gig (sometimes I have to of course if I have to deliver to a client). I know my pictures are perfect in my head, and what will come out of the memory card maybe not quite perfect 🙂

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