Narcissus with a lens, or, Don´t fall in love with your own pictures

Richard Strauss was not a great composer but, as far as I know, a great conductor. He once wrote some advices for conductors. My favorite: “You should not perspire when conducting. Only the audience should get warm.”

This can be applied to many things, among others photography: “Don´t love your pictures, let others love them.”

Of course one can love one´s pictures, but not as a mother loves her son, with much partiality. Then you will see what you want to see. And preferably one wants to see what others see, or what one would see in a picture taken by somebody else (not a son).

Oh, how we love our pictorial “sons” and “daughters”! Sometimes love them even more because… the stupid, ignorant world doesn´t love them at all ;-(

I was once very much in love with this shot of mine, which I now find uninteresting (partly because I take better pictures now).

Maybe it had to do with the presence of a bird (tends to excite me every time), or the restaurant where the bird was spotted (a favorite hangout). Somebody who is neutral to birds or who has never been to or doesn´t like Café Vian will not be in the same way partial.

As a composer I am better at standing apart and not falling in love with what I do. After having composed let´s say 20 bars of music, I record it with my MP3-player. Then, while listening to it, I distract myself by doing tricky hand patterns or counting backwards. In this way I “forget” that I wrote the music and hear it with at least a relatively neutral ear.

I have no such tricks as yet for photography. But I think that is what is needed in order not to fall in the trap Narcissus fell into.

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