Quote Originally Posted by ChristopherCoy View Post
It's not whether or not I know its a bad photograph, its whether or not I feel worthy and validated as a 'photographer'. Even when people say "that photo is awesome", I still think in my head "they're just being nice." And perhaps it is a good photograph, but I still feel like it completely sucks because I noticed that soft focus, or that 1/2 a stop underexposure, or that camera shake, or that color shift, or that... or that...
I have the same problem, but I've decided to just live with it. I'm an imperfect photographer, I always will be, practically everyone else is too, and it's a fool's errand to determine whether I feel "worthy and validated" based on the quest for perfection---it's about as useful as determining whether I feel worthy and validated based on whether I can fly!

Seeing different people's reactions to my photos has been eye-opening in this respect. The attached shot is one of my favorite photos of my son; I look it and I see that un-self-consciousness of childhood, the laser focus on any current object of interest that's one of his most basic character traits, a pleasing spot of color that breaks up what would otherwise be overly bullet-y composition, and so on. (OK, I wish the out-of-focus rocks weren't in the foreground, and that the barn column weren't growing out of his neck, but those aspects don't confront me unless I look for them.) All three of his living grandparents feel the same way and have prints of that photo in places of prominence. But my wife finds it to be merely-OK, just another cute picture of the Boy. Everyone involved is a reasonable person in most respects, everyone has taste and discernment, everyone is looking at the same photo, it just hits them differently. So if I were searching for validation, should I be perfectly satisfied because it works for me, 75% satisfied because it works for three of the four other people closest to the subject, dissatisfied because it fails to reach someone who matters, should I be waiting around until the subject can tell me dispassionately what he thinks...? I've concluded that it's a silly question and I should just get out and shoot.

(Alternatively, I could go do some actual work. Anyone want to integrate Java code as a separate thread in a Python script for me?)