Being an outsider has been conditioned into me from the day I was born. It was the norm.
I grew up in a working class suburb in a wealthy town in the South of England. My parents were Geordies (from the North East) so we had no relatives nearby.
Later, I met my Aussie husband and we lived in France and Australia and then New Zealand, raising our kids 18,390 km’s from my family (particularly noticeable right now with closed borders).
I’m astonished at how many photographers I meet who are ‘outsiders’.
Photographers who have grown up moving from place to place, who don’t fit in, who didn’t do well at school, or who feel ‘different’ in all its manifestations- mental and physical.
Being an outsider could be why you ended up being a photographer, viewing the world through a lens which conveniently separates you and maintains that perspective and outsider-ness.
It could be why you enjoy talking to strangers and being inclusive and capturing those incredible moments with people you barely know.
It can drive you to be a trailblazer. To be whoever you want. It certainly did that for me.
But it can also be a crutch. An excuse for not fitting in, not allowing yourself to go places you perceive you won’t be welcome.
It can deter you from joining a supportive community (online or in person), stop you talking to a stranger you want to shoot, paralyse you from calling a client you’d love to meet, or discourage you from asking for help.
It can prevent you from reaching your potential.
The truth is, everyone gets to choose.
You can choose to be an insider or an outsider. To be inclusive, or to separate yourself.
Whichever it is, make sure it works for you, not against you.