We are all looking at others work all the time; in magazines, at ads in the subway and especially in social media. If you are a creative like I am sometimes it all can feel overwhelming and some times make you feel uneasy about your own work.
I fall into this trap all the time. As a creative you need to get inspired, up to date and well read to be able to come up with new and exciting ideas. But if the material you read makes you feel bad about yourself and your work you are putting out? Should you stop looking at other artist and creative work?
The answer is no, of course. But you need to change the way you are looking at their work. If you are a moviemaker for example and searching around Vimeo and looking at others show reel for inspiration. You stumble across some amazing work and you start to feel that this is something you can’t compete with change your approach to their work.
Compare the right way
You can’t compare your latest film, illustration or photo to someone’s highlight show reel for example. A reel is their best work for a whole year, 365 days of planning, shooting and editing. The same goes for photography. If you see a very well executed photo in a magazine or on Instagram that is a cover for Vogue or an ad for Louis Vuitton it’s like comparing pears and apples if your last shoot wasn’t equivalent to that.
A Vogue cover story or an ad campaign for Louis Vuitton has thousands of dollars in production behind it. We are talking high-end models, make up artists, stylists and set designers. Then throw in project managers, professional retouchers and so many assistants. If your last photo shoot was a non or small budget production that you try to compare to one of the highest ranking jobs in the fashion industry, of course it will make you feel bad about your self.
Don’t stop looking. Just look the right way
I’m not saying that you can’t produce good work with no budget, or that you should stop looking at others. But you need to start looking at others work for what it is. It will make you feel better about your self as a creative and your own work. If you feel better about the work you do and get inspired by others to explore and creating better and better work you are doing it right. Not the other way around.