Nick Page Thinks That He Sucks? An Important Message for Everyone

In a personal and heartfelt video, one of the most talented landscape photographers around talks about his recent struggles with his own mental health in relation to content creation and the ultimately meaningless pursuit of likes on social media.

Nick Page is one of my favorite photographers and YouTube creators. I don't just like him because he's a talented artist and chooses share some of his secrets with us, but because of all the creators I watch on this platform, there is an honesty and gentleness to him that I find immensely endearing. That might sound twee, but I feel that I need to be straight about it. Talking about mental health is tough. We all go through bad times — some more than others — and that's why I've massive respect for Page and others like him who use their platform to spread a message like this in such a vulnerable way. 

Dare I say, most of us have been there at some point: the inner critic becomes loud and sharpened, while the rational, kind voice fades to the back. Social media usage seems to amplify these thoughts. Some people are adept at not allowing it to affect them, but for those who take the perceived or real lack of engagement to heart, it can be an extremely damaging psychology that can persist if not dealt with in an appropriate manner. As someone who also suffers from social media-induced feelings of self-doubt and self-criticism, it's incredibly heartening to see a person with Page's ability and success express the same emotions. Being alone with those thoughts can be a very dark experience, so it's important to learn how to share them so that we can spread the burden and lessen the load. 

If you feel that you can't share them with someone close, there are plenty of free phone numbers with volunteers at the end of the line who are willing to listen. You'd be surprised at how much better you might feel by just telling another person what's going through your head. Failing that — or even added to that — your GP is a good place to start, but maybe professional counseling could be a better option. I'm not a medical professional, so if you're worried or feeling particularly down, please seek advice from a certified medical professional. Quite often, just the act of scheduling an appointment can feel like a mini victory. 

If anyone is willing to share their experiences with mental health issues around social media or the business of photography, we would love to hear from you in the comments.

Help Lines

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Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255 

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Canada

Crisis Services Canada: 1-833-456-4566

UK and Ireland

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19 Comments

John Ohle's picture

Thanks a million for posting this.

Willy Williams's picture

Nick, I commend your courage in laying it out so publicly. I've come to the thinking that my own sense of self-worth is derived internally, and has absolutely nothing to do with any form of vapid social media (in which I choose to not participate). Continue to do what you do and do well, and know that you're in the right place for your own plan in this dimension.

Deleted Account's picture

Powerfully important topic. Thank you for keeping the issue in the light.

I'm a disabled Air Force veteran with severe PTSD. Six weeks in hospital after a suicide attempt. 25 yrs later... still upright thanks to good post-trauma support and my camera.

We must keep speaking up and out about depression and all mental illnesses.

It's not weak to ask for help. What's weak are the people who pretend they don't see those of us who struggle. "Well, you look fine... you're not as screwed up as you think you are."

Keep the pointy side up!

Barry Stewart's picture

I have PTSD and for years my problem was talking, and the best thing you can do is talk about it, so hats off to you.

Deleted Account's picture

I'm about to break the therapy hiatus for another round of finding my voice. Periodic tune-ups, I call them. :)

Deleted Account's picture

Great share. I wish other photographers will wakeup to this; drop social media and continue to improve in their craft, not follower or like counts. There is a reason they call it dope chasing.

My favorite shirt to wear while out shooting is my "Chasing the light, not likes" shirt. It avoids people asking me if I am on these fantasy world platforms known as Social Media.

Grow your own platform (portfolio), improve in your craft for YOU and build an email list. Your rewards are much better...

Deleted Account's picture

Great shirt idea. :)

I thought about making a shirt that just said, "I shoot things." Decided it might not be in my best interest.

Deleted Account's picture

Thanks Cathleen. Yes, you may get some attention with that slogan 😀

Leon Kolenda's picture

Just know this Nick, There are a lot of crazy people in this world on Social Media, and there are a lot of crazy opinions from them, I'm not a Social Media user, except for Facebook, and I'm using it less. Best advise I can give based on what has worked for me, I don't need a lot of people to like my work. Just be CONFIDENT in your judgement if you think your work is good, you'll be honest to your self. A very, very old saying, " Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder".

I have been shooting for most of my life, with good gear, and I have about, maybe 75 images of what I consider good images, that I like or love and I don't care what any ones opinion is about them, especially Social Media.

As far as ruts go, I don't carry a camera with me, very rarely. Because I think about what subject matter I want to have hanging on my walls, not lost in the Social Media data void! I find thinking with my mind as to what I want a photograph to look like and what subject I want, The same for video. I find setting these kinds of goals of what and within a certain time period to finish them keeps me motivated, along the way.

I have always loved landscape, but as I've gotten older and less mobile, I've had to eliminate a lot of trips. So I started thinking about still life and shooting in a home studio in the winter, Most depressing time right?, I'm now having a ball learning all about the studio world, and let me tell you, it's a real challenge, and motivating! I'm loving it!

Hang in there Nick, many of us all go through this, theirs light at the end of a tunnel, maybe that's your next shot!
Good Luck

Leon

Benoit Pigeon's picture

Social media is about advertising first and foremost. I feel bad for people who get trapped into depression because of it and most don't think this will ever happen to them simply because no one really understand depression until they are awake in the middle of it. Clearly isolated on a phone, tablet or computer there is no better trap to get sucked into a depression. Take a day a week off social media, go for walks, just diversify, photo or not and keep your mind changing for more acceptable habits.
But it's always good to see people realize they have a problem. A lot of people don't get to reach that point, but it's the first step to recovery

Deleted Account's picture

Powerful insight, Benoit. As a chronic depression type and survivor of trauma... this is why I keep talking about these issues. To educate, support, and keep darkness at bay. :)

Deleted Account's picture

And remember that everything we need for our happiness is all around us. Life is our one, big chance at happiness. Never too late to start.

Deleted Account's picture

Always a worthy reminder. :)

Paul Clark's picture

Nick, I have to be honest. I didn't know who you were until I watched this video. I had to go look you up. Now, PLEASE don't let that get you down. I haven't focused on landscape photography and so am not familiar with the players in that area. Nick, I have to tell you. There is NOTHING you need to be down about my friend. You have some of the most beautiful photography I've seen.

Your images, are jaw dropping, moving, amazing. I know that your goal is to improve and best yourself. That is what has driven you to be as good as you are but I quite honestly don't see how you can improve much on what you are already delivering. Maybe that is the crux. You have gone as high as you can and not are looking for that next big hurdle but your at the peak?

I do want to say "Thank You" for stepping out and sharing your feelings though. My mom always used to say "This too shall pass" and she was right as far as I can tell. I think the best thing you could have done was get your feelings out there and that in and of itself can start you down the path to feeling better. I wish you the best. Please keep doing what your doing. It's a gift to anyone that see's it.

Tarek El Wazzi's picture

I watch several of these guys, Thomas Heaton, Gavin Hardcastle, Adam Gibbs and Nick Page. All provide some really great photos and YouTube content, but i feel he is the most humble of them all. (Not saying the rest aren't. They are all really nice guys). Although as he mentions, his videos didn't do as well as he had hoped for, he shouldn't take it negatively. In the end, the type of videos/photos these guys produce don't reach out for a huge number of users, unlike Kardashians, or kinder opening videos that get 50M views etc... I feel annoyed when i post a really good photo on instagram, but only get 30-40 likes, but then again i say to myself, i am happy with that photo. Its my photo and it represent my style of photography. I prefer to shoot for myself to be happy, than to take photos am not happy with just to get 600likes or more.

Although i don't make money out of photography and it is just a hobby for me, he shouldn't worry about how many views, likes and comments his videos get. His content is awesome and that's what counts. Creatively he might be going through a tough patch, but we have all been through it. taking a break from photography, and focusing on something else will reset his brain and that creativity and motivation will come back.

John Fore III's picture

There is no feeling in this world better than capturing an image that truly excites you. Even if it doesn't get a lot of traffic on social media, the fact that you can look at it and it brings joy to you is something that like chasers will never understand. From what I've seen this year is when you have a lot of photographers basically shooting the exact same thing even though it guarantees a lot of traffic, sooner or later it leads to burnout because they try so hard to out do each other and then when they try something new, the likes don't reach the high numbers that they are used to, which leads to falling back into the same old rut of shooting what works for likes and not expanding their variety of styles. Get back to having fun... :)

Ken Flanagan's picture

Great video man. I think that really resonates with a lot of photographers. I love your photography, as my landscapes suck comparatively.
For me it Took me a really long time to understand my own thought process and come to grips with the fact that never liking my own work is OK. The point that it becomes not OK anymore is when it stops you from doing what you love.
Please keep on keeping on. I just read this quote that I like. I don’t remember who said it.
“You will never get to where you’re going if you stop to throw rocks at every barking dog” it was something like that anyway.
Be good, stay well, and much love from Colorado!

Leon Kolenda's picture

The Key there is "You Have to know where your going"! I agree.

Steven Gotz's picture

I have a distinct advantage in that I mostly photograph zoo animals that people are already predisposed to love. So they like the photos.

This means that to grow as a photographer, I can't rely on my usual audience.

Even though the zoo uses my photos because they are better than most casual visitors to the zoo can capture, they are not a good judge of the photograph as much as they are the moment I captured.

I have yet to find a mentor qualified to critique my photos. While I am certain they exist, I don't know any personally.

While it would be nice to have such a mentor, the fact that my less than judgemental audience loves my photos isolates me from the pain expressed in tbis video.