FOMO – Fear Of Missing Out – is a wonderful tool in the kit of the salesman or writer. It can be used on more and more people in these communicative days to cause more and more disaffection…and that in turn can be converted to money. We really don’t need a Philosopher’s Stone when we convert angst to gold. Indeed – if people were more philosophic, it would put a terrible dampener on the trade.
The makers of equipment can play this one all year round, as their manufacturing and release schedules will generally be in operation all the time. The latest, the newest, the biggest, the most sophisticated, the most expensive…they are all lures with hooks buried deep and the companies have skilled sale fishermen at work all the time. A Japanese Photokina must look like a motion picture taken aboard a tuna boat when it strikes a school of fish.
There is just as much FOMO applied to professional work as in the amateur world – but here it is FOMO on money and sales. No-one really ever gets to see the balance sheets of other studios and other professionals, but the way the sellers of equipment, courses, associations, and promotions carry on…everyone but you is making fabulous money and you are missing out.
Likewise, if you are casting about for something to do, the FOMO factor is invoked. You may not want to do weddings but if you don’t…well… Likewise portraits, animals, fine art, events, editorial, etc. etc. You are always nagged to do what everyone else does so that you have to buy the goods and services that they buy. And once you are doing it…your entry into the same field will be taken round to your rival and shaken in front of them like a severed head.
Answer to this? No one misses out anything. We all get to be born and to die. It’s guaranteed. And in the photo world we more or less get to do any damn thing we want to these days – the digital revolution has seen to that. There’s really no technical barrier to anything we want to do. But we must be the ones to figure out what it is we really want and then bend our efforts to that.
By all means try lots of stuff. Treat the photographic art as an optical smorgasbord. Do good shots and bad shots and find out what you are good and bad at. More importantly, find out what you like doing. You might be paid a fortune to do it, and you might be paid nothing…but if you do it you can genuinely say to yourself that you have not missed out.
And that’s pretty fearless.