There are turning points in everyone’s life that remain vividly clear long after they occur. I’ll always remember the precise moment I decided to apply myself and learn how to take better pictures. I was passionate about spending time outdoors, and loved the act of taking photos. Yet, after picking up my film from the lab, the images did not come anywhere close to matching what I had envisioned. While this failure was exasperating, it was the catalyst for taking things to the next level.
Fast forward ten plus years and I’ve learned how the occasional misstep is not only necessary, but essential to artistic growth. They force you to take personal inventory, find what you need to move forward and reach your goals.
I’ve spent these years searching for the perfect image. On a few occasions, I have even came close. Yet there’s always one nagging aspect of a frame that irks me. Maybe the depth of field was a little too shallow, or the sky wasn’t as ideal as I would have liked. “Next time” I think, it’ll be just right. And so it goes, the ongoing pursuit of the elusive flawless image. Call me a hopeless optimist, but I believe it’s still out there waiting to be captured. The craft of photography can be humbling like that.
The more I learn about photography, the more I realize how much more there is to know. This is one of the things that makes it a worthwhile endeavour. It challenges me to work harder everyday, get better, and study new techniques and technology. The web is certainly a great resource but I find something more serendipitous about the photography section in a bookstore or library. To spend a few hours reading and looking at photos can fill your inspiration bank in a hurry.
“Wow, the perfect picture!” reads a comment on my Facebook page. It’s funny how art is subjective like that. You can look at other people’s photos and think they’ve achieved perfection, but rarely give your own work the same credit. I know I’ve been guilty of this. I’m learning though that it’s more productive to only compare yourself with yourself. Do you see improvement over this years captures compared to those from last year? How about five years ago?
There is no overnight success in any artistic medium. Anyone who achieves success does so by showing up each and every day and putting in the work. Without mistakes, perfection wouldn’t exist. As Victor Kiam said, “Even if you fall on your face, you’re still moving forward.”
Every day holds the potential for a spectacular image. This is what springs me from bed early each morning. Whatever you decide to do today will have an effect on tomorrow. Whether or not you achieve perfection is subjective. The important thing is that you have the courage and ambition to try.