“I don’t think my work is good enough to be shared out there,” This has been my line of thinking back when I was still starting out with photography. My photos were only visible to my family, friends, and people I personally knew. And it’s all because I didn’t believe that my photos were worthy of being shared. I was also afraid of what other people would say about it.

Self-promotion is a huge challenge for me. I’m wired to think that something has to reach a certain level of greatness first before it goes out for everyone else to see. Honestly, all this mindset has ever done for me was hold me back from opportunities that I could’ve seized had I been confident with what I do.

Over time, I’ve come to realize that if there’s one person in the world who’ll believe in what I do and what I’m capable of, it has to be me. Things don’t have to be perfect, it just has to be finished.

When I shifted my mindset and started posting my film photos on social media more, I’ve received messages from total strangers about how impressed they are with my work. I didn’t know how inspired they are by what I do until I met some of them in real life.

I also found a community of incredibly talented film photographers who are so generous when it comes to sharing lessons they’ve learned to help others.

More than that, Alve and I finished Stanzas And Stills — a film and poetry zine about travel — last year. It sold out on the first day of its release during the first SOFT event. We had to reprint new copies for those who have reserved in advance. Looking back, it’s ridiculous how worried I was that people wouldn’t like it, to the point that I thought of not producing it anymore.

I know that it’s easier to say that you have to start being more confident and believing in your capabilities, than actually doing it. But as with everything else in life, constant practice is key.

I can’t say that I’ve completely stopped doubting myself. I feel that way every once in a while and every time I get that feeling, I remind myself that there isn’t anyone else out there who can create the way that I do. I should be proud of the progress I’m making and everyone should see them.


Pearl Aton is a freelance creative from the Philippines. She posts her work and thoughts on her website, pearlaton.com.

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