[I] believe that it is at the core of (true) photographic endeavor to seek to express Vision…but sometimes we do or allow certain things to obtrude our vision, here's 4 that I know of.
Nothing hinders Vision more in my opinion that a good case of GAS (Gear Acquisition Syndrome). It misplaces the attention of the photographer, instead of focusing on the image, it makes them focus on the camera. One huge self talk lie is that somehow you cannot express your Vision without a certain piece of gear. While it might be true in certain cases (Like Sync Speed or ISO limitations) in my experience it's mostly excuses to dunk some cash into gear that your really didn't need in the first place. GAS freeze you, it's like you can't do anything until you get that lens or camera body….Since it freezes you, you will never be tempted to actually go out and express your Vision, whatever the camera. If you have GAS you will be a slave of the camera, not it's master….and let me tell you that just like money, Cameras make great slaves but terrible masters. The biggest hinderance by far is GAS, it just steals the attention needed to focus on your Vision and channels it into gear, a dead end.
For some, they have to put themselves in “Photography mode” to actually produce something. They have set times and plans to shoot and don't do anything else in between shoots. If there is something that I learned is that Vision never sleeps. It can come anywhere, at any moment. Many times I have to hit the car brakes, jump out of the car to get a picture that I saw. Heck my wife knows my “I reallllly see a good shot but you will have to wait for me to get it” look! Never think that you are in photographic mode when you decide to go out, life IS photography mode. I make absolutely no difference between street photography, paid gigs, my family shots, all are part of my Vision for that particular instance. This is why I'm a preacher for the GRDIV or similar camera, it's always with you, ready for any shot at any moment whether it is kids, street or wedding. Vision is like a muscle, the more you flex, the more it will give back, the less you flex the more it will become atrophied. The shot above was taken at night at a storage place, earlier that day I might have gone up and down the stairs to the 3rd floor 40 times basically moving alone yet my Vision was still there.
Not being focused enough
Photography is hard work, especially in the quest to express your Vision. So not making a contract with yourself to pursue your Vision will hinder it. Let's face it there is not just photography in life, there is family, work, TV, Internet, etc. In my opinion Vision should be third after God and Family, everything else is behind. Watching TV while you could use that time to fine tune your skills to express your Vision is a sure way to hinder it. You see your brain will alert you when there is a shot coming up, thirst that alarm long enough and the brain will start to label good photographic opportunities as unimportant and will not alert you anymore. Train yourself, make your Vision a priority and be focused, every minute spent not photographing are chances of your Vision not being fulfilled. I'm not advocating to shoots 24/7 but you get the point….
Following someone else's Vision
One of the greatest book titles ever is “You're born an original don't die a copy“, and it says it all. One example I can bring attention to is the wedding industry, it's full of photos that all look the same. With some photographers you could switch their pics and you would not be able to distinguish them from each other. The world already had it's Ansel Adams, André Kertész and others, why be a shadow of them? People do not remember copies, only originals. Case and point, who was the first to fly over the Atlantic?……Charles Lindbergh…..Now who was the second? You've probably never heard of Bert Hinkler…even if he flew faster than the first! Why try to be Cartier Bresson just like so many while there's a spot that just for you? I'm not saying not to be inspired (Sometimes others work inspires us to try something), but do not seek to copy. Look at Apple, their Macs are a product of non Apple components. The Chiclet keyboard is Sony's, the casing is Braun's, the GUI was bought, etc. Jobs conceded in an interview that they stole shamelessly, and I would argue that Macs are darn sexy and can hold on their own even if inspiration came from various places. We stand on the shoulders of giants, we should learn from them, maybe appreciate the similarity between their Vision and ours but in the end we must never follow their Vision. Doing so coughs yours and you will never accomplish it, only continue one man's Vision. Be inspired, copy, steal, like Picasso said but in the end produce something that can only be yours: Your Vision.