Wednesday, March 4, 2009

On Suckage

There's been a meme going around the photography bloggers and I assume other artists of suckage and a minimum amount of work to get good. It seemed really get going during what seems to be the "retrospective" part of the year. That time just after New Years where everyone makes resolutions and looks back at what they did the previous year.

It really builds on a saying purported to be by Ansel Adams, and probably others, that you don't really become a good photographer until you take 10,000 photographs. The mindset that you need to take a lot of photographs to become good, that the more time you spend behind the camera, the more the camera becomes a part of you.

Does hitting a magic number really mean anything, especially in these days of point and shoot processing? If for some reason you did the exercise of seeing how fast you could get to the 10,000 mark, you probably didn't look at many of the photographs. You probably didn't display any of them, nor did you get feedback from any other photographers about the work.

I see photography as a journey with a process that in engineering terms would be called a feedback loop. A photograph is produced, by any means, whether it be a digital camera, film or any other device for capturing an image. The artist works on the image, producing the image that portrays the message they want to say. There probably is a judgment about whether they feel the work is worth carrying on. This would be the first decision point. While they are evaluating the image, there is also internal feedback. Whether the work conveys what you want to say, whether it fits your style, whether the aesthetics works.

If they decide it is worth moving forward with, they may then put it where it can be seen, whether that is an online gallery, a print in a coffee shop or on the wall of their home. Maybe not, while I think a work should be seen, others don't.

I believe that it takes time to develop. That and hard work. Sitting thinking about taking photos, doesn't move you any further in developing your style, your vision and becoming something more than a snapshot photographer.

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