When I started photography it seemed like a very extroverted thing to do. I am going out into the world to capture images and then I am sharing those images with everyone else. I am putting myself out there to build a reputation or personal brand through photography after all which requires being an extrovert. Right?
I think the real answer may lie somewhere in-between and is a bit more complicated than it first appeared. A good way of defining an extrovert vs an introvert is essential however in determining which is accurately fitting. I define an extrovert as someone who gets their energy from being around other people in a social setting while introverts get their energy by removing themselves and having more space.
As a landscape photographer, I do go outside to capture photos which tends to be around others, but often times the best imagery is captured at odd times and in places non-photographers aren’t. I get up before many and stay out later than most. Sounds like extremely anti-social behavior right? Yep, I tend to only hang out with other photographers on the trail for these reasons and it is mainly because we share a passion and it is easy to have a conversation about that.
I tend to hide behind my camera in public because it is really easy. People tend to ignore me and my tripod making it easy to become inconspicuous. On rare occasions someone will say something or ask a question, but those times are few and far between actually. Most of it is “can you take my picture” because they figure I know what I am doing with a camera. Even in these social moments I have been asked to still hide behind a camera capturing something/someone.
So, while being artistic and capturing photos it is easy to see how it is beneficial being an introvert. Many times being out in the field I feel most connected to nature and the creative side of me begins to flex with each step away from the car and further down the trail. I also get excited for times when I have hours to myself editing and processing the photos I captured earlier. This isn’t the whole story though as capturing and editing images is not the only thing I do.
The business side of landscape photography tends to involve more social activities. Naturally, sharing my photos is something done on social media, my website, and in person. Communicating and sharing art can be a very extroverted part of the life of a landscape photographer. The question is how does a naturally introverted photographer handle these situations?
It is going to be taxing… at least a bit. I find ways of enjoying the social aspects of landscape photography and find the middle ground between introversion and the more extroverted aspects of the business of landscape photography. I really do like to talk about the art and photography with others that are likewise passionate. I approach getting myself out there by remaining comfortable with who I am as an introvert and communicating that through my images and the stories behind them.
I also am likely not the most introverted person out there. I do enjoy talking with others especially about anything photography. That makes social situations easy when they stick to relevant subjects to what I am or can find interesting. I actually do this in my day job too finding ways to connect on things that are fun to talk about for a little while. Even if I am not talking about photography it can be nice to have a conversation about almost anything so long as there is passion there.
This blog post is not meant to say I am an anti-social person who wants to be a hermit in the woods. It doesn’t instantly bother me when someone else interrupts my solitude in nature. What I am focused on here is describing how I connect with nature in my own way, how it refreshes me and gives me creative energy, and how I find more enjoyment through the social settings connected to landscape photography. I am an introvert that loves being alone when creating art and around other passionate people when sharing it!