Competition, Comparison, and External validation

Discussion in 'Photographic Discussions' started by Mendoza, Apr 27, 2009.

  1. Mendoza

    Mendoza TPF Noob!

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    Does anyone else find themselves inhibited by these things? "Competition" is the race to create the finest art. "Comparison" is comparison of one's own work to others (or oneself as an artist to other artists). "External validation" is self-descriptive; it's the drive to seek fulfillment from what others say, or think, or feel about your own work.
     
  2. craig

    craig TPF Noob!

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    Heck yeah! All those elements drive my work. No one lives in a vacuum. Photography for me is out doing the competition or at least finding my place in it.

    Competition: That is kind of a tough one. I like to think of photography as a community. Truth be known it is a competition. Currently I am the photographer that comes in a close 2nd. Hey, it's SoCal everyone is an amazing photographer. It's a huge market. Only been here a year so...

    Comparison: Potential clients compare my work against other photographers daily. That comparison is my opportunity to hook them. I am always comparing my work to others. I think it helps me learn.

    External validation: Yes. Mostly it comes from clients and other photographer friends. These days it rarely comes from TPF. This is my life blood and this is why I am in the arts. We discuss we critique we get better. it is that simple.

    Love & Bass
     
  3. blash

    blash TPF Noob!

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    Inhibited? No way. More like encouraged - at least by comparison and external validation. Competition doesn't really apply to me.
     
  4. Seefutlung

    Seefutlung TPF Noob!

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    When one is new to any field ... these may be inhibiting factors especially when is in an arena where there are others more experienced and skilled than you. To massage your ego join a group at or below your level of skill. To advance and learn join a group which has more skills than you ... but your ego will take a beating.

    Mao said you don't learn from your successes.

    Gary
     
  5. JerryPH

    JerryPH No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I'm not sure but.... I never knew that competition was a race to create the finest art. For me a race is a contest of speed, and one never rushes art... also, what is the definition of "finest art" and by who's standards? ;)

    Comparison and external validation... I do it for me, and though I enjoy and respect other's works, I don't need anyone's but my own approval for my photos. Basically, I do not care much about what others say of my photography... I do it for me, not them. Inhibition comes from internal insecturity. Maturity, self-confidence and a healthy sense of self-esteem removes childish inhibitions.

    Now, if you want me to care about what you think about my "art", you have to become a client and for that...
    "show me the money!" :lol:
     
  6. fwellers

    fwellers TPF Noob!

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    What I find interesting is that the first three words of your post say it all. You're doing it again ;)

    Hey. No matter what some may think, nobody is an island. We are all connected consciousness and we are going to feed a part of ourselves ( many define that part as the ego ), by comparison to others. Everyone does it. Nobody is immune except maybe some sages.
     
  7. Torus34

    Torus34 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I take pictures solely to produce prints for use as decoration on the walls of my home.

    My own personal criticism is far more severe that that which I coiuld obtain elsewhere.

    To answer the IP: No.
     
  8. DScience

    DScience No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I have thought long and hard about ideas like this, mainly because I am passionately interested in consciousness research.

    Competition:
    our natural biological tendencies have evolved to create the competitive nature found in humans. This is because in nature, there is always competition. However it's not about who can take the prettiest picture, it's a competition to survive and raise your offspring. Think about it, why do we compete now? To win obviously. The kicker is that we're constantly reinforced because it 'fells good' to know that you are better than someone else at something. It feels good because of the chemical signature behind all emotional states; they are positive reinforcement that encourage us to continue the behavior that will create this happy feeling. This was an advantage in our history, because when we were in the 'struggle for existence' a hundred thousand years ago, winning a competition meant food and survival. Thus the consequence and reward for being competitive is a feeling or emotion produced in your body, and it's the same emotion that you get when you compete in art, sports, or anything else. The interesting part about this, is that we are no longer in a struggle for survival with the rest of nature. Our populations have grown exponentially, and the only predator to the Human being, is the human being itself. Thus we can't ignore the truth. When we are competing for that good felling we get when we compete and win, it's simply an ingrained biological impulse that that has evolved through the historical record.

    "If you compete with no one, no one can compete with you."

    Comparison and external validation are along the same lines as competition, which are natural impulses driving the behaviors. Although these terms can sometimes be ambiguous, they inevitably lead to a change in your emotions and feelings, that either negatively or positively reinforce your behavior.

    What I think, is first be aware of how each of these words relates to your emotional states attached to them. Second, don't let them be the guiding impulses in your life's path. For example with photography and other art, my number one reason for doing it is for my own sake, because I am happy doing it. I never look at art as competition. Comparison however I think is not a bad thing in photography in of itself. Comparing allows you to view different perspectives of styles, and get a sense of the different thought process amongst other photographers or what not. External validation is tricky, but for me I can't deny it feels great when people compliment you. Just be aware, and don't rely on this way of obtaining that 'good feeling'. Because truth be told, you can access that extremely happy emotion felt when someone compliments you, by other means.
     
  9. lacolocation15

    lacolocation15 TPF Noob!

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    I'm often inhibited by the need for external validation, but not as much as comparison. See, when I compare myself to someone else, and especially our works, it's never a win situation. I always end up pointing out the negative in myself no matter how insignificant it is. And then doubt creeps in -- and that's the biggest hurdle I can face.

    Competition, on the other hand, actually helps me. It motivates me to think more creatively and find out how to improve on the weaknesses of other works I come across.
     
  10. bdavison

    bdavison TPF Noob!

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    I view contests as a great subjective resource. Use them as a tool to improve your photography. Much of photography lies in how others view your photos. Contests are a great source of feedback, as is C&C.
     
  11. Alleh Lindquist

    Alleh Lindquist TPF Noob!

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    Competition will cause the best to continue to rise and meet new challenges and the weak to fail.
     

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