Secrets to become inspired and effectively smash creative blocks

Cover photo credit: QQ

I believe all artists have these “blocks” every once in a while. Feeling of discouragement or lack of motivation, inspiration, and will to do something we know we love to do.

Writers have a “writer’s block” – a condition in which a writer is unable to write anything. Logically it doesn’t make sense, because how could a writer who has e.g., written hundreds of pages before not be able to form sentences all of a sudden?

It’s nothing to do with writing specifically. I believe it is the same for any form of art, photography included. It’s really just a “creativity block.”

Paticia Huston, MD, MPH has written a paper on the writer’s block and how to resolve it. I gathered some nuggets from it and put it in a photography context. In addition, I added other ideas from various sources and sprinkled in my own experiences and ideas.

I wish you a pleasant reading.

Lower the bar

One of the reasons for being uninspired might be the fact that you have unrealistic expectations. You put too much importance on the photographs.

Realize that not every picture you make needs to be a great image or shared with others. Shoot for fun, having no expectations whatsoever.

Make photographs of things you’d normally won’t make. Shoot the sky, trees, mannequins, houses, street signs. Just start clicking the shutter, you will gain momentum and make the creative juices start flowing. Again, it’s just for fun.

“I write how a child plays. And I’m having so much fun, and I’m just getting started.”

Eric Kim

Essentially just lower the bar of what’s good. Everything you make is good. Simply because you made it. You’re unique, and therefore, everything you make is unique – unique to you.

Give yourself permission to be imperfect as perfection is impossible anyway.

If you’re working on a project and feeling uninspired – think like a sculptor. A sculptor doesn’t start from the head trying to make the head perfect first and then moving to other parts. No, the sculptor has a rough idea of what he or she wants to make out of the block of stone and slowly starts to carve out the pieces.

This is also the way we should approach our work. Do the rough draft first, and then start improving it on different parts.

Don’t stress over being perfect. It’s a lot more important to get your work out there than spending so much time trying to make it better and better and end up not shipping it at all.

The longer you sit on something, the harder it becomes to get it out there. Our minds come up with all sorts of excuses why it’s not ready yet and why it needs more this or that.

Let success land

Give yourself positive feedback even on minor progress.

E.g., if you have improved or achieved some sort of success, reward yourself. Letting success actually land is necessary.

Some people, no matter how much success they receive, don’t acknowledge it (enough). It’s mentally unhealthy. I think it stems from deep-rooted insecurity of you thinking that you don’t deserve success. I was like that.

When I received my LLM degree, I simply went and picked up the diploma as if it was the morning newspaper. I did not celebrate it with anyone. I did not attend the ceremony.

If you never achieve success by always looking for the next thing to conquer, it’s no wonder you lose motivation at one point. It’s not sustainable. You’ll burn out.

This might have something to do with the so-called “imposter syndrome.” You might feel that you’re fake, that you’re not really an artist and that people will call you out sooner or later. For this, Huston gives the following advice (in addition to rewarding yourself): you either pretend that you are, in fact, someone else or reassure yourself that you’re an artist by finding your unique voice.

Peter Elbow (the author of Writing with Power) suggests that by pulling yourself out of your usual perspective, you can sidestep your preoccupation with the block and start thinking directly.

Take a break

Sometimes we simply need a small break to be inspired again.

Do something else – don’t do any photography for a couple of days or even for a week. Or shoot a week only with your phone.

I can still remember the time when I first got into photography. I went out to shoot with my phone every day as I didn’t have a “real” camera yet. I had one of the best times of my life.

Also, take long walks to clear up your mind from clutter.

“Above all, do not lose your desire to walk. Every day, I walk myself into a state of well-being & walk away from every illness. I have walked myself into my best thoughts, and I know of no thought so burdensome that one cannot walk away from it. But by sitting still, & the more one sits still, the closer one comes to feeling ill. Thus if one just keeps on walking, everything will be all right.”

Søren Kierkegaard

As the famous director and writer Ingmar Bergman once said: “Demons hate fresh air.”

There are countless artists and creators throughout the history who took regular walks. E.g., Bob Dylan got once picked up by the police for wandering in the suburbs of New Jersey.

If you’re not taking long walks, you’re missing out. I probably walk at least a minimum of 2 hours almost every day.

Walking is not only good for regaining inspiration and for maintaining your physical health, but it is also good for your mental health in general. Especially in today’s world, where people are almost constantly plugged into their phones.

Read (photography) books

Always have a photography book that you’re reading. Study the book carefully, so you’ll really let those photos sink in.

By looking at the photographs made by the masters of photography, you’ll realize how much you’ve got to improve.

The first time I went through Robert Frank’s “The Americans,” it left me lukewarm. I didn’t think it’s bad, but I didn’t think it’s anything special either. I thought it was overrated. I recently went through it again and looked at the photos from a totally changed perspective. The images had a different meaning for me this time.

I think that it has something to do with certain information not being accessible to you yet. When you’re a beginner, then a decent amount of theory is good for you. However, at a certain point, the theory or information doesn’t give you anything anymore. In fact, excess information usually makes things worse.

It’s as if you haven’t unlocked the next level yet in order to be able to access that information. Once you gain more practical experience, visit that same material again, it might offer you something new!

Quit social media

Quit Facebook and Instagram. You don’t need to delete the accounts but just step back from the noise for a while.

One of the worst things you can do after waking up is to start your day by checking your phone immediately for news and notifications. This sets the tone for the rest of the day. By checking your phone, you’re in reaction mode.

I’ve found out that a lot of creativity and inspiration comes to me, e.g., when I’m taking a walk, or not doing anything that requires cognitive thinking.

What’s the first thing we tend to do when we’re bored? Check our phone.

The problem with this is that it doesn’t allow our unconscious mind to work as we’re constantly putting pressure on the conscious mind. If we free up space in our mind, we can allow the unconscious mind to do the thinking – which is often underestimated.

“The phone gives us a lot but it takes away three key elements of discovery: loneliness, uncertainty and boredom. Those have always been where creative ideas come from.”

Lynda Barry

I don’t think I was ever really inspired by visiting Instagram. To be honest, it made me feel worse. To browse through all kinds of mediocre mess which included cat and baby pictures, political memes, and half-naked models. It also made me feel guilty for wasting so much time on it.

After quitting Instagram, I feel so much more inspired to do stuff – to produce instead of only consume. On my blog, I don’t have any way to comment, and I have turned off all the stats.

Also, e.g., instead of posting directly to Facebook, why not post on your own blog and simply repost automatically to your Facebook account. This way, you’re building your own platform instead of someone else’s.

Don’t make photography a job

If possible, don’t try to turn your hobby into work.

If you work as a photographer, making similar pictures every day for work, it’s hard to stay inspired. Many people who are full-time photographers don’t have the energy anymore to photograph for fun after work. It’s the same reason why a chef doesn’t want to do any cooking at home.

“It is better to be a plumber in the daytime so you can be a photographer at night time.”

Edward Steichen

Shooting for clients creates a certain pressure to produce images to please them.

“One of the easiest ways to hate something is to turn it into your job: taking the thing that keeps you alive spiritually and turning it into the thing that keeps you alive literally.”

Austin Kleon, Keep Going

Vivian Mayer was a nanny, and she was almost constantly taking pictures. At least judging by the amount of the negatives, she did shoot a lot.

Austin Kleon warns people to be mindful of the potential impact that monetizing your passion might have on your life.

What about traveling and new gear?

It seems that traveling to new places is a sure way to get a quick inspiration hit. I think it’s only because of the novelty. Since everything around you is new, you feel more inclined to take pictures and walk around more.

However, once the novelty wears off, so does the inspiration.

It’s similar to getting new gear – you’ll feel inspired at first, but after a couple of weeks you’re back to your normal state.

Do not buy new gear to feel inspired! This is terrible advice! You’ll discover that a few weeks later, the “high” is gone and you’re a couple of thousand dollars poorer.

Do go travel though. Not to fix the inspiration, but to widen your perspective and to invest in experiences.

Overall you need to be able to feel inspired where ever you are. If you can be inspired to do photography with your old camera in a 500 people cow town, you know you have fixed the underlying cause.

Turn “pro”

I saved the best for last. This is for the hardcore OG’s.

“To turn pro” is a term Steven Pressfield uses. It’s not meant to be taken in its conventional meaning, but rather it means to take your art seriously as a professional does. It doesn’t mean to turn it into a job. Your work is not your job.

“‘Mr. Faulkner, do you write on inspiration or do you write on a schedule?’ Faulkner replied. ‘Well, of course I write on inspiration. Fortunately, it strikes every morning at a quarter past nine.’”

We shouldn’t simply dabble around with our art. We should have the approach of a professional. If you do street photography, then do it! If you write articles, then write articles. Do it every day!

We show up to our jobs whether we feel like going there or not. So we already know how to show up no matter what.

I have noticed myself that sometimes before sitting down behind a computer, I have no idea what I’m going to write about. Yet, it has happened that in many of those cases, I end up writing a thousand-word article in one sitting.

Even this article was not meant to be that long. I just thought of sharing a couple of tips – 500 words max, but I kept adding more and more ideas, and at one point it had turned into a 2 500+ word monster.

Sometimes when I go out to do street photography even if I don’t feel like it, I take some pictures, and before I know it, I’m inspired again.

Therefore, interestingly, inspiration comes to you when you start to do your work, not when you wait for it.

If you do your work every day, it builds up momentum, and you’ll find it’s easier to do your art.

For me, it’s actually easier to write an article every day than it is to write 2-3 times a week. Because of momentum. The same applies to photography. If I haven’t gone out to shoot for a couple of days, it becomes harder. I guess this is also why people feel it harder to go to work on Mondays than, e.g., on Thursdays.

Momentum is the energy of movement. It’s like Newton’s first law (also called the law of inertia) which states that an object continues to do whatever it happens to be doing unless a force is exerted upon it.

If you sit still, you’re inclined to keep sitting still. If you do your work five days in a row and then stop for a couple of days, it’s harder to start again as you have to exert more energy. If you’re already in movement, all you need to do is a slight nudge to keep yourself moving forward. Just like a car takes more fuel to start up compared to when you’re already driving it on a highway and only need to keep it going.

Conclusion

All artists experience a lack of inspiration from time to time. Although it’s natural, it’s also curable.

This is a short summary of the tips we went through:

  1. Lower the bar. Even if you’re a professional photographer allow yourself to make “bad” pictures. Not everything you make needs to be shared online. Shoot for fun and for yourself.
  2. Let success land. Award yourself even for minor improvements. Keep in mind that celebrating success is a sign of a confident person.
  3. Take a break. Sometimes we need to stay completely away from our art for a little while in order to come back stronger. Take regular walks.
  4. Read books. One of the best ways to go out to start taking pictures again is to look at the photographs of masters.
  5. Quit social media. Stay away from the noise for a while. Instagram is bad for inspiration.
  6. If possible, don’t make photography as your job. This way you can take the pictures you want, not what is expected of you.
  7. Don’t buy new gear in order to fix the inspiration problem. Travel as much as you can, but realize that if you think it’s going to fix your inspiration crisis long-term, you’ll be disappointed. Fix the root cause instead.
  8. Turn “pro.” Inspiration will come to those who do the work no matter what. Whether it rains or whether or not you feel like it, you always do your work — every day.

It seems the common denominator for most of them is to take action, to move, to change, to surprise your brain, to get out of the house.

This is a list of ideas I personally resonate with. It’s not an exhaustive list meant to fit everyone. Find out what you relate to and then use whatever works. Either way, I hope you got some ideas.

KRISTJAN

Art and imaginary drawn lines

People like to put art into boxes: “this is a painting, this is sculpture, this is photography, this is music, this is not, this is this, this is that.” Not to even mention the boxes we like to put inside the boxes and create these infinite Russian nesting dolls – a sub-sub-genre of a sub-genre of a genre.

E.g., is the “sculpture” placed in front of the painting part of the painting, or do we have to call it something else? This is precisely what the Japanese artist Shintaro Ohata (大畑伸太郎) has done. He has effectively blurred the line between painting and sculpture and probably fried the circuits of a few art critics along the way.

Therefore, let us not worry about any lines between different forms of art. All art is just art as long as it’s done by not following any maps or manuals. As long as it’s done creatively.

For our brain, all creating is art. This is why creating a business is also art — creating by using our creativity = art.

KRISTJAN

How meat eggs and coffee will make you happier

If you avoid eating carbohydrates and eat healthy fats, your body will start to burn fat for fuel. It’s called the ketogenic diet.

You cut out all the grains, bread, pasta, rice, potatoes, milk, and fruits (bananas, apples, pineapple). These foods are high in carbs.

On the other hand, foods such as meat and fish have zero carbs. Green vegetables, eggs, mushrooms, butter, avocados, and cheese, e.g., are not exactly zero-carb foods but include a minimal amount of carbs.

I’ve been doing a keto diet for a little while now, and interestingly I noticed feeling way better. Not really because it’s some magic diet (could be actually), but because this diet cuts out most of the foods you could buy in a grocery store. And most of it is unnecessary crap.

With keto, there’s way less to choose from, which is good! It makes life easier.

I simply buy eggs, meat or fish and some random greens, throw them in a pan, mix together, and that’s it — no need to carry a heavy bag of potatoes and a carton of milk and fruit anymore.

There’s no need to give up on desserts either. Whipped cream + few strawberries (not too many), and 99% dark chocolate and nuts is a good ketogenic dessert.

People are generally avoiding fats, thinking that fat will make them fat. It’s actually carbohydrates that usually make people fat – especially the sugar found in most foods. Most canned and packaged foods have sugar in them as well. Even potato chips have sugar in them.

Also, I never thought that I’d get used to coffee without milk. Now I don’t think I’ll ever want to have coffee with milk again.

I’m constantly striving to make my life easier and more minimal, so I have more time and energy to focus on creating. Again, everything is connected to the art we create – nutrition, exercising, sleep, reading books.

KRISTJAN

5 important lessons by a master of photography – Lu Nan (呂楠 )

Intro

Lu Nan (born 1962) is a legendary Chinese photographer and a Magnum correspondent.

Lu Nan, 1990 (Magnum Photos)

By nature, Lu is extremely reserved. He keeps a very low profile and doesn’t appear much in public. In fact, apparently, he even doesn’t like to talk about his work in his own exhibitions – appearing there only as a visitor. Somewhat ironically, there are also very few portraits of him.

He has released three major works. In 1989 he started The Forgotten People: The Condition of China’s Psychiatric Patients (completed in 1990); in 1992 he started the On The Road: The Catholic Faith in China (completed in 1996) and in 1996 he began the Four Seasons: Everyday Life of Tibetan Peasants (completed in 2004). These were combined together in a single book and released as Trilogy last year.

In 2006, he also completed a project in Burma about drug addicts.

His photographs of people are often quite somber and even eerie that will not leave anyone indifferent.

Immerse in your work deeply

In his Trilogy, he focuses on people. The Forgotten People shows the lives of mental patients and their sufferings (he visited 38 mental hospitals); On the Road is about the daily lives of the people in church (he visited more than 100 churches) and Four Seasons is about the regular farmers and peasants of Tibet (during the 8 years he spent at least half of the time living there).

Through these photographs, I hope to find the basic and long-lasting characters of human beings.

Lu Nan

It took him 15 years to complete this massive body of work.

Lu clearly did not finish his projects in a hurry. He committed to his work and took it obviously very seriously. For him, it’s about the work, not about the fame.

Lu Nan, 1993 (Magnum Photos)

Now compare this work ethic and attitude to some Instagram photographers who can’t wait to get the likes on their photo of a lavender field – yet another meaningless photo to join thousands of similar photos to be forgotten as quickly as it was shot.

I did that, as well. I chased the likes and followers until I realized how pathetic and pointless it is. More likes or followers is not going to make you a better artist. Doing the work will make you better.

Respect your subjects

Lu was asked how he is able to take photographs of his subjects e.g., the drug addicts in Myanmar (aka Burma) and he answered by saying:

“I just respect them and care about them. … They are the same as us.”

Lu Nan

Now, even though Lu Nan is not very active in the busy social life and prefers to stay quietly behind the scenes, he must have great social intelligence. You need excellent social skills and empathy for people to let you inside their homes and to photograph them.

Lu Nan, 2006 (Magnum Photos)

I think what Lu Nan really means by this quote, is to be normal, not to treat them as freaks or as simply something to photograph.

A parallel can be drawn on how most “regular” people act around celebrities. They are unable just to be normal and treat them with respect. They start to act really weird around them, putting them on a pedestal and so on. This is why celebrities only hang out with other celebrities. They can be at ease around them, knowing that this other person doesn’t want or need something from them (selfie, autograph, answers to their questions, and so on).

If you can be normal with people who have higher status than you just as well as you can with people in a lower position, is a sign of high social intelligence.

Photographic whole

The strength of the chain is decided by its weakest link. I think the same applies to photography: you’re only as good as your weakest image.

Each image of mine is independent, although each image serves to form a whole. Therefore, I do not have one photograph that makes more impression than the others.

Lu Nan

How many bands have made one-hit wonders and then disappear as quickly as they appeared? How many bands have put out good work consistently over decades and remained relevant?

Lu Nan, 1995 (Magnum Photos)

When Martine Franck made her first famous photo in Nepal, Koudelka told her that if she makes ten more similarly worthy photographs, then she can be considered to be a great photographer. As we know, Martine made many great photos after that.

This is why Magnum photographers are the cream of the crop photographers. They put out amazing images consistently. They don’t depend on one or a few good images.

Use black and white to express a certain mood

There’s something unexplainable in black and white photography that makes it very different from color. Note: not better but different!

Lu Nan, 1989 (Magnum Photos)

I believe both black & white and color photography can produce good works. I choose to shoot in black & white, first because of my subject – most of them are in black, grey & white tone; another reason is that black & white photographs can express serious and deep thoughts better.

Lu Nan

I’m personally also drawn to black and white grim images. I’ve always liked the deepness and darkness in art.

Nearly a decade ago, when I was into mixing electronic music, I was also inspired by the chilling deep and dark minimal vibes. The darker, the better.

Although I don’t mix music anymore, the same tendency continues in my photography.

I don’t think using color film would fit Lu Nan’s photographs of the Trilogy at all. Black and white emphasizes what he’s trying to convey. Color would weaken that considerably in my opinion. Pain and sorrow, and black and white go hand in hand.

Of course, that doesn’t mean all black and white photos are about pain and sorrow.

Photography is a study of light

Without light, you don’t have a photograph. Except if you use an infrared flash – which I believe is nevertheless considered to be “light.”

Lu Nan, 1989 (Magnum Photos)

Either way, different light can drastically change the feel of a photograph. Lu Nan is a master in understanding the light, and he creates a series of photos where light touches on people’s faces or where it forms a silhouette.

In order to be a good photographer, it is necessary to have a good understanding of light – and that doesn’t mean to only when is the golden hour.

I you want to know the story behind these and many other great photos, I recommend checking out his Magnum profile page.

KRISTJAN

On dreams

Step number 1: Write down what you really want to do in life.

Step number 2: Watch Into the Wild. Let it sink in that the movie is based on a true story. Let it really really sink in.

Step number 3: Start plotting to make it become a reality. Plot every day. Don’t tell anyone anything, work behind the scenes. Quietly, yet persistently.

Step number 4: Start a blog and/or a YouTube channel and give value. Teach what you know, share your work, experiences. Start creating instead of mindlessly only consuming, consuming, consuming.

Step number 5: Keep plotting. Read books on business, self-help, marketing, psychology, philosophy, nutrition …

KRISTJAN

2 key lessons you can learn from Mikhael Subotzky

Intro

Mikhael Subotsky (born 1981) is a South African artist. At the age of 25, he was one of the youngest photographers ever to join probably the most prestigious photography agency – Magnum Photos. However, he did not simply join; he was invited to join.

Needless to say, he’s a very talented artist not only in the field of photography but also in film-making and painting.

These facts alone already say a lot.

Mikhael Subotzky, 2006

Photograph what touches you deeply

Subotzky is a sensitive artist – and when I say sensitive – I don’t mean it in a bad way. As an artist, you need to be sensitive to certain things, and this enables you to portray these things in a powerful way. Because these things really matter to you.

Mikhael Subotzky, 2004

As Subotzky is a resident of South Africa (a very violent country), his primary work is to examine the different aspects of social structures in South Africa. The injustice and even ridiculousness happening between social classes.

In a primary level, I still very much see my work as being about myself, and my place. It is photographs of my personal experience of my surroundings.

Mikhael Subotzky

A lot of his work has also dealt with crime and punishment. E.g., the photo show in the intro is the Beaufort West Prison on which he did a project. That is the theme that touched him personally. This is why he did that, not because it looked cool or just interesting.

In contrast, nowadays, with Instagram and its algorithm, many photographers do the pictures that will best serve the algorithm, not what they truly desire to do.

But you should never do the art that others want to see. You should always do the art that you want to see. It’s perfect to quote Austin Kleon here:

“Draw the art you want to see, start the business you want to run, play the music you want to hear, write the books you want to read, build the products you want to use – do the work you want to see done.”

Austin Kleon, Steal Like an Artist

Even one of the Magnum members complained that new applicants do the same stories over and over again – prisons, hospital, mental asylums etc. and they get so many of them. Because these applicants think that that’s what the Magnum members (who ultimately decide if you get in) want to see.

Even if something is a cliché, you can still photograph it

The Ponte skyscraper located in Johannesburg was photographed probably hundreds of thousands of times before Subotzky in collaboration with Patrick Waterhouse began their project Ponte City (the tower playing the main role).

Mikhael Subotzky and Patrick Waterhouse, 2008

According to Subotzky, he was not interested photographing the tower at first, as it was a sort of a cliché. He did it anyway, and with great success.

The key it seems is to do it differently than everyone else has done, and do it 10X better.

We regularly come face to face with buildings that are so immense and intricate that the mind has to simplify them as geometry rather than fully acknowledge that they are vertical space where multitudes of actual people work and reside. We build as if we’re gods and then view the results like infants.

Darran Anderson

Subotzky and Waterhouse spent years on the project and photographed many of the building’s residents. Obviously, no easy task as they had to talk and interact with a lot of people, do the shooting, etc.

They really immersed themselves into the essence of the building and the stories of its residents. They didn’t just make photographs of the building’s facade. They photographed its soul.

KRISTJAN

Fear of photographing mannequins and little girls

By “fear,” I mean more the “what do other people think of me?” type of thought process.

Lately, I’ve been photographing a lot of inanimate objects as I’ve discovered that photography is not really about what you photograph but how you do it.

It’s so much fun because there are all these shades of light, shadows, geometrical lines and interesting juxtapositions out there that “regular,” the – non-photography people – rarely pay attention to. Even photographers sometimes miss out on all these details.

Luxembourg, 2019

I remember that when I was photographing those mannequins, I did that as if they were real people, trying to get the best composition, changing perspective, etc. That’s what was going on in my head.

When I made the picture above, there were a couple of ladies standing by. In their head, they were probably wondering why would anyone take so many photos of a shop window.

I was aware of their presence and their likely above-mentioned thoughts, but at the time, I was too busy taking photos to pay much attention to them. But sometimes we just have a feeling of someone staring at us or that we’re being watched.

Recently I started to think about it, as I was looking at the photo above.

Do we often not take pictures of things in addition to people, simply because we are worried about what others are thinking of us? That we would look weird if we take pictures of traffic lights or anything that people normally don’t photograph?

Of course, if I wouldn’t know about photography, I would probably do the same. I would wonder why would anyone take pictures of insignificant things. It’s natural for us human beings to feel curious, and anything that’s out of the norm draws our attention.

When others are looking at us, it makes us feel uncomfortable, as it in a way shines a spotlight on us. And we don’t want to be categorized as weirdos.

But there’s nothing we can do about it except to just ignore and do our thing.

Getting close to people and taking pictures of them is the same thing. People don’t understand that.

Why would anyone make a picture of another human being? Crazy! You can only photograph 1) your cat; 2) your latte; 3) yourself; 4) The Eiffel tower (not at night) and 5) a street musician (but only from 300 ft – 100m – away).

E.g., there was recently an article published in PetaPixel about a street photographer who made pictures of people in a fair and apparently he also took a picture of some random kid. No big deal, right? Wrong!

Someone made a picture of him (apparently for that person it’s OK to take pictures of strangers) with a smartphone, uploaded the thing on FB and called him a pervert or whatever. The netizens went batshit insane, and the post went viral. People threatened to beat him up, called him with all kinds of words, etc.

I’ve made tons of pictures of kids myself. Sometimes, parents have asked me to delete the photo and if they ask nicely (which has always been the case so far), I’ll do it, no problem. I don’t have to do it, as the law is on my side, but a picture is nothing special for me. I can always make better photographs later.

The thing is, most people will never understand your art. There’s no point in trying to explain it to them either. It’s a waste of time.

These people (the above-mentioned netizens) have a lot of trauma energy, and they are constantly looking to gossip, complain, flame, hate, threaten, fight, argue, etc. With you trying to reason with them, it just gives them more fuel. These are extremely toxic people and best to stay away from them.

But this is what we, (street)photographers have to live with. It’s uncomfortable, but you better become comfortable being uncomfortable. Push your comfort zone so much that eventually, it will extend and what was uncomfortable at first, is now comfortable.

Keep doing your art. Just don’t break the law and don’t listen to anyone telling you about ethics or giving you morals.

KRISTJAN