There's a difference between taking a selfie and shooting a portrait.
Both are forms of photography, but one exudes craft while the other feels hollow.
The distinction comes from rigor: the application of the critical eye that turns a hobby into a practice.
The critical eye cultivates taste. It notices successful patterns and highlights your own shortcomings in brutal yellow sharpie.
After finding the movement and balance in an Ansel Adams' landscape,** you need to apply the same standard to your own work.**
Celebrate what worked, but find the flaws in your composition. If you can't find any, your work isn't perfect. Rather, you've reached the limit of your taste.
Rigor is distilled intention. The hunger for improvement and the thirst for meaning.
To apply rigor to your own work, you must actively engage with your process. Passivity is the enemy of rigor. Always examine, and always seek to improve. Once the fire inside you fades, so does your rigor.