Photography discussions online tend to focus almost exclusively on gear, but rather than posting more technical tests or reviews, I’d like to talk about working the scene – being on location, and making little decisions that make a photo better.
I like to go out and challenge myself – I pick a location, then pick a lens that seems entirely inappropriate for that environment, and try to find a way to make it work. In this case, I went to Mount Pleasant cemetery armed with a 14mm prime.
I don’t really show these photos or do anything with them, I mostly just review them, take notes, and hopefully learn something that I can use later on.
Continue reading Photography Tips: Working the Scene
It’s easy to be discouraged by failure. It’s easy to do your best to avoid failure. But failure is a necessary part of learning. If you aren’t teetering on the verge of failure, you aren’t pushing yourself far enough.
When I sign up to do an art show, it’s often done a year in advance, I send in images of my older work, and when I’m accepted, I’m locked in, I have to produce a certain amount of new work that is similar to the examples that got me into the show. And when you sign yourself up for as many shows as I did last year, it’s a challenge to produce enough work for each of these shows. I had nine shows last year, many of them overlapped, meaning I had two full bodies of work on display simultaneously. I’m not a factory. I can’t just pump out X number of units each month. I like to give each piece the time and attention it deserves. Sometimes that only takes a few days, and sometimes it takes several months.
Continue reading The Importance of Failure
After watching a series of recorded talks and presentations, I have become a fan of Seth Godin. Like his talks, his blog is an explosion of ideas, and each idea is worth spending some time with and giving some serious thought. They are the type of ideas that even if they all turn out to be wrong, a person is still better off for having thought about them. The ideas are fresh. One idea that is stressed more than once is the importance of abandoning the idea of perfection, and shipping a product that is good enough.
At first, this didn’t sit very well with me. “Good enough” is a phrase I use very often. I am by no means a perfectionist with every detail in my life. The only area where I do strive for perfection is my art, because the arts are one area where I strongly believe that “good enough” is never good enough. Only the very best that I am capable of producing is ever good enough. This must be an area where business advice does not apply to the art world.
But this might be too literal of an interpretation on my part.
Continue reading Perfect vs. Good Enough
How many times have you heard the phrase, “practice makes perfect”?
Does it really?
What about talent and genius?
Is practice really all it takes?
When I was five, my family moved to a new neighbourhood. Unfortunately, a bully lived next door. I couldn’t go outside without having someone twice my size beat me up. To ensure that my teeth stayed in my mouth, I stayed in the house. I stayed in my room and I drew. I drew a lot. I would lock myself in there for hours at a time, where I would draw until one of the parents came up and got me; then they would make me stop for a bit and eat dinner. Afterwards, I would go back upstairs and draw some more. I did this until I was 15. That was when I discovered ‘QBASIC’ on the old IBM PS/2 386, and computer programming started to dominate my attention and free time for the next 3 years.
For 10 years, from the age of 5 to 15, I drew nearly everyday for about five hours.
300 days X 5 hours X 10 years = 15,000 hours of practice.
Fifteen thousand hours of drawing.
Continue reading How Much Practice Does it Take to Make Perfect?