the photoshooter's journey from taking to making

PUT YOURSELF OUT THERE

Miles from home, I either had to shoot this with the "wrong" lens, or miss the moment. Hey, I lived.

Miles from home, I either had to shoot this with the “wrong” lens, or miss the moment. Hey, I lived.

By MICHAEL PERKINS

PHOTOGRAPHY, IF IT TRULY IS AN ART (and I’m assuming you believe it is), can never get to a place where it’s “done”. There is no Finished, there ain’t no Clock Out, and there shouldn’t be any Good Enough. There is only where you are and the measurable distance between there and where you want to be. And, once you get there, the chains get moved down the field to the next first down, and the whole drill starts over again.

That means that, as photographers, we are always just about to find ourselves uncomfortable, or need to try to make ourselves that way. Standing still equals stale, which, in turn, equals “why bother?” Sure, the first step toward a new plateau always feels like walking off a cliff, but it needs to, if we’re to improve. If your work feels like something you’ve done before, chances are it is. And if a new assignment or challenge doesn’t come from outside yourself, then you’ve got to do something to put the risk back in the process.

You can write your own prescription. Shoot all day with a limited camera. Do everything in b&w. Make yourself compose shots that are the dead opposite of what you believe looks “right”. Use the “wrong” lens for the assignment at hand. Force yourself to do an entire day’s work in the same aperture, shutter speed, or white balance. Just throw some kind of monkey wrench into your routine, before the routine becomes the regular rhythm (spelled “rut”) of your work. The words comfort and create don’t fit comfortably in the same sentence. Be okay with that.

We can’t always count on crazed bosses, tight deadlines or visionary mentors to nudge us toward the next best version of ourselves. Learn how to kick yourself in the butt and you’ll always be in problem-solving mode. That means more mistakes, which in turn means a speedier learning curve. You never learn anything repeating your past successes, so don’t curl up next to them like some comfortable chair. Put it all out there. Make the imperfect day work for you, and pray that there’s another one waiting after that.

 

 

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2 responses

  1. Jamie

    Love this post, the last paragraph is perfectly written and the entire post is spot on!! Thanks for this, it’s amongst my favorite normal eye posts!!! 😊

    ~Jamie

    June 29, 2015 at 10:09 AM

    • Wow, you made my day! I feel like we are all in this together and I always benefit from re-examining my methods. Thanks for following TNE.

      June 29, 2015 at 11:27 AM

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