An intriguing article on “the passion paradox” got me thinking more about my own photography, and the balance between what the writer called “harmonious passion” and “obsessive passion”.
To quote the article, and the book it’s based on –
“In harmonious passion, you are pursuing your passion because it reflects what it is that you care about, and as a result, you experience more satisfaction, meaning, and happiness.
And then there’s something called obsessive passion, which is when you’re passionate about something but not because of the pursuit but because of some of the external validation that comes with it.”
For me personally, this translates to photography like this –
Harmonious passion is getting out making photographs with equipment you love using, purely for the pleasure of the experience and the good feelings it brings you.
The experience itself is the endgame.
Obsessive passion is having your sole focus on the final image, and the equipment and post processing you feel you need to make that final image, to ultimately gain maximum external praise and validation for your pictures.
In other words, chasing likes, hearts, favourites or other similar little shots to your ego on social media.
Of course I enjoy when everything comes together and I end up with an image I’m proud of and keen to share with others.
But my main pursuit with photography is the experience itself, not the end result.
So much so that, as I’ve written about before, where I’ve shot more than one roll of film and realised when I’ve got to the end it hasn’t wound on past frame one, it’s not detracted from the experience I had of making the photographs.
I still saw those compositions there in the viewfinder with my own eyes when I released the shutter. Even though I had nothing to show for it at the end.
So with photography, I think I’m at the harmonious passion end of the spectrum, ultimately doing it for myself, and setting the parameters for what I feel is a “successful” photo walk, rather than its success being measured by the photos I have at the end of it.
How about you? Is photography a harmonious passion for you, where you enjoy the experience for what it is, or more of an obsessive passion, where you’re constantly trying to get that “perfect” end photograph that gains praise from others?
Please let us know in the comments below (and don’t forget to tick the “Notify me of new comments via email” box to follow the conversation).
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