Ego vs Soul: Unearthing Authenticity Through Portrait Photography
If you’ve clicked on this article, you’re probably curious about this “ego vs. soul” thing I’m talking about. Well, it’s not just about some philosophical rambling. Nope. It’s about how understanding this battle can open the door to an extraordinary and deeply fulfilling life. And believe it or not, it’s directly connected to the philosophy of Stonetree Creative I use here at the studio.
What's This Ego vs. Soul Debate All About?
Now, let’s begin with a quick introduction. The ego is that part of you that’s concerned with your self-image and how you’re perceived by others. It’s like your bodyguard, always vigilant, ready to jump in when it feels that your self-esteem is under threat. It seeks validation and often triggers defensive mechanisms when it perceives danger. In short, your ego is your “safety officer,” always out to protect you.
On the other hand, your soul is that inner voice, your true self. It seeks authenticity, connection, and real experiences. It doesn’t need validation and embraces vulnerability. It’s often linked to those deep ‘gut feelings’ you have.
Unpacking the Ego: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly
Contrary to some perceptions, the ego isn’t inherently bad. According to Sigmund Freud, who popularized the term, the ego operates based on the reality principle and helps us navigate the practicalities of life. In essence, it’s a vital component of our psychological structure.
However, the ego can sometimes be overly protective, hindering our growth and leading us away from authenticity. It can make us too concerned about external validation and societal expectations, causing us to present a version of ourselves that may not align with our true essence. And here’s where the issue lies.
The Soul: Your Untamed, Authentic Self
The soul, your authentic self, on the other hand, doesn’t care about societal norms or fear of judgment. It embraces vulnerability and seeks deep, meaningful connections. The soul yearns for fulfillment and strives for inner peace and happiness. It’s your untamed, real self, basking in its authenticity.
When we manage to silence the loud voice of our ego and listen to the whisper of our soul, that’s when we truly connect with ourselves and others. And trust me, this connection plays a pivotal role in portrait photography.
The Role of Ego and Soul in Portrait Photography
As a portrait photographer, I’ve witnessed the subtle battle between ego and soul firsthand. The ego tends to influence how individuals present themselves during photoshoots. They may want to look a certain way or hide certain features, driven by the ego’s need for societal acceptance and validation.
However, when individuals manage to connect with their souls, to listen to that deep, inner voice, the outcome is magical. The resulting portraits don’t just capture the subject’s physical likeness but also their true essence, their personality, their spirit. It’s a true reflection of who they are, unfiltered and real.
Bridging the Gap: The Stonetree Creative Way
At Stonetree Creative, I aim to help my clients bridge this gap. Through a series of conversations and interactions before each session, I strive to understand my clients deeply. We discuss their dreams, their fears, their perceptions, and their expectations. We delve into their authentic selves, peeling away layers of ego-induced defenses to reveal their true selves.
And when it comes to the actual photoshoot, this understanding helps guide the process, enabling me to capture not just an image but a reflection of the soul. It’s a beautiful process and the results are just as beautiful.
The Science Bit: Polyvagal Theory
You may wonder, why is this battle between ego and soul even a thing? Why do we often feel conflicted between our need for social acceptance and our yearning for authenticity? Well, science has an answer – the polyvagal theory.
Developed by Stephen Porges, the polyvagal theory states that our vagus nerve, a key player in our nervous system, dictates our social interactions and stress responses. It’s divided into two systems. The ventral vagal complex is associated with social engagement and calming processes, while the dorsal vagal complex is linked with primal responses like ‘freeze’ under threat.
Understanding this theory helps us realize why our ego often takes over – it’s part of our physiological self-protection mechanism. But it also tells us that we have the power to tune into our ventral vagal system, to engage more deeply with ourselves and others, to connect with our soul. I’ve been exploring this theory with my therapist for years.
Ego vs. Soul: Final Thoughts
The ego is not our enemy. It’s our protector. But to live a more fulfilling life, we must learn to find a balance between our ego and our soul. When we manage to do this, when we allow our souls to shine through, that’s when we can create magic, in photoshoots and in life.
So here’s to embracing our souls and living life in full authenticity. Here’s to creating portraits that tell the stories of our true selves. I invite you to journey with me, to navigate this path together, for a truly transformative portrait experience.