Growing Stronger

We live in a fast-paced time. With smart phones, twitter, instagram, facebook, and all the other social platforms, news travels fast. Information in general is produced and shared faster then ever before. As a society, it seems if things break, it’s easier and faster just to replace it and not bother with trying to fix it. Again--why waste time, we spend literal minutes surfing from webpage to webpage gathering a plethora of data.

Let me elaborate--in terms of your abilities and skills I think it is very similar. We start taking music lessons, and when we feel we are not getting there fast enough, we stop and give up. When we start working out and don’t lose those 50 lbs in two weeks, we give up. We start a job that we are passionate about, and when we don’t feel we are growing or not at the level we want now, we throw it away and replace it with something new. We are not always passionate or “in love” with the things in life (i.e work, music lessons, art lessons, relationships). If you persevere and nurture and invest time into those things, instead of just replacing them, you will actually grow and be more rewarded.

First off, I take a lot of pictures (if you don’t know that, you have not surfed my web page). In so doing I gravitate towards other great photographers' work. They inspire, help educate, and even further my skills as a photographer. Sadly, all the reading and portfolio viewing also frightens, frustrates, and discourages me in my work. I see their amazing work and then look at mine and feel like my work is garbage.

How can this be--my photography is getting “better”, yet I feel I am getting worse? My Dad once told me a story of an art professor, who on the first day of class told everyone to draw their best piece of work, then put that work in their binder. Most of the classmates were proud of the work they did. After the year was over, he had them do the same assignment using all the new skills they had learned over the course. Then he had them all take out their original work in the beginning of the year and compare. To no one's surprise the latter was much better than the first. Yet some were not happy with their second piece--yes, it was better, but they felt it did not meet their “new” standard. This is because their “eye” had developed further than their skill level. This is not bad in itself. Having a trained eye and knowing what is “good” work is very helpful, but it can just be very discouraging at times.

Similarly, like the students in class, I felt way more proud and excited of my work when I first started out in photography. Today I look back and am sometimes shocked I even thought any of those pictures were “good”. It’s not to say I am never proud of my work, but I am sometimes my toughest critic. The moment you ever think you have “made it,” or achieved the level of perfection, is when I think you have lost. Skill is something we always continue to grow in, so keep learning. Don’t get discouraged--instead, look back on your old work and be encouraged that you are still moving up the skill chain.

I debated showing you this below album because I think it’s so bad, but this is one of my first wedding albums and weddings I have ever done. I have it displayed in my room to remind me of where I have come from, to help remind me to keep on growing, keep pushing, and keep trying harder things. “When we long for life without difficulties, remind us that oaks grow strong in contrary winds and diamonds are made under pressure.” Peter Marshall

 

I long to create images that express a true emotion for the viewer. I was captivated with this aspect of photography and this is what drives me to push on. I have a vision for that picture, now I strive to make that vision a reality.