FUD or Fears Uncertainties and Doubts


In one of my lectures, I speak about FUD which stands for fears, uncertainties and doubts. I first learned about the concept of FUD in a sales seminar 30 years ago. In that context, FUD applied to what a potential customer might be feeling about making buying decision. About four years ago, when I was developing a new lecture, it dawned on me that FUD applied to me as a photographer. I don’t know about you, but, I have FUD a lot! I remember a specific time when a friend invited me to photograph the Klotz Silk Mill in Lonaconing MD. That first trip years ago was in January. It was cold, dark inside and it smelled moldy and musty. I was paralyzed. Where do I start? What on earth do I take a picture of? I have no idea what makes a good picture in this type of environment. What lens do I choose? Do I shoot wide or details? Am I smart enough to find good pictures here? Rather than pull out a camera, I wandered around aimlessly and uninspired. I had no idea what to do. I finally put on a wide angle lens as it is what I am most comfortable with, and began to try and find something worthy to photograph. For the first hour or so, I made a lot of terrible pictures. It was not until I reached the 3rd floor where there was a bit more light, it was warmer, and it did not stink quite as much, that I began to find my rhythm. A key moment to finding that rhythm, was finding a calendar that was left behind from 1957 hanging above a desk. This created a connection, as I was born in 1957. I made a photograph of that scene and it made my heart sing. With a bit more confidence, I was able to find more worthy images and even developed a desire to return. I have now returned six times, including a recent visit with some friends.

I would be interested in hearing about your experience with FUD and how you overcome it.

The blog image was inspired by a friend who was shooting this scene. B&W oft times seems to be the right answer at the Silk Mill. Shallow DOF was also a purposeful choice for this image. Remember you may click on the image to make it bigger.

John Barclay Photography, Images that make your heart sing.

This entry was posted in B&W, Silk Mill and tagged , , , , , , , .


  1. Flint Sparks May 16, 2016 at 11:18 am #

    Wow, FUD pretty much sums up my last two weeks—far away from home at a time of huge transition, trying to sell our home, trying to find a new place to live, teaching in four cities across the UK over a 3-week period, leaving my partner and new puppy at home to handle it all, feeling helpless to assist in the stress of the impending changes, and having to show up each day to lead each retreat and do what I love to do—teach mindfulness. The theme of these retreats: “Embracing Impermanence.” A good way to trigger FUD. I knew I would be pushed to the max so this is the first big teaching trip in which I didn’t bring my “big boy” camera. Just me and my iPhone. And you know what? It is all moving just fine. Sometimes up and sometimes down, but it is OK. I am grateful for my life, my loved ones, and my friends. I am blessed with amazing students and I get to tell stories with images now and then. Thanks John. This may not be all about photography, but it sure met me where I am.

    • JB May 16, 2016 at 11:49 am #

      Love getting feedback from you Flint! Yes, life and not just photography is filled with FUD! So happy to hear all is moving along fine. Thank you for sharing your soft underbelly. So looking forward to teaching with you in December!

  2. mark Stevens May 16, 2016 at 6:01 pm #

    I think we all go through that from time to time. I now embrace it as a challenge. Slow down, calm down, trust my instincts and feelings. Yes John, feelings.
    When I do this I always come away with something that pleases me.
    Great post my friend.

    • JB May 16, 2016 at 10:35 pm #

      Funny Mark! Thanks for your comment.

  3. Steve L May 18, 2016 at 11:12 am #

    Ha! And I thought I was the only one who experienced that! (just kidding, of course!)
    The more experienced I get, the more I allow for this. I try to find some new or unique approach or some key element to jump out at me (like the calendar you mentioned…or an unexpected shaft of light…or an interesting background, etc.). If we’re patient enough and have confidence in the “process,” somehow we know things work out more often than not. And I think we learn that one rarely can simply walk up to some scene or situation and just “take a picture.”
    Though, of course, we all have the occasional failures which only add fuel to the next case of FUD (all three)!
    I think the key is to have the creative hat on all the time…though besides being the key, that’s also the problem, isn’t it?

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