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Humble Beginnings, Humble Still

There is so much great art going around on social media. The professionals are truly amazing and inspiring. I spoke with one such pro and he told me the key to being a professional photographer is to only share your best works; this means possibly taking thousands of photos for every one that actually gets seen. I told him then, just like I'd like to talk to you about, that that's not me and I never want to go down that path. Here's why…

I had so much fun when I started learning about photography. It was all experiments and laughs and fun nights out with friends. As we got better, we demanded better results and some of the laughs were lost in that challenge, but we were rewarded in compliments of how nice our work had become. The trade-off seems fair, but there is an aspect of this that does concern me. Most any professional artist seldom speaks of their humble beginnings.

Social media ‘feed’ is a highlight reel

So I don't really know where to start on this talk. You see, I've seen a lot of discouraged people for a wide variety of reasons that all boils down to them comparing their lives or works to others on social media. What they don't realise is that what you see on your ‘feed’ is a highlight reel and that the pros also had to work to get as good as they are. That for every great photo, there may have been a thousand that landed in the recycle bin. It's ok to experiment and try things, and the criticism is something that can help you to grow, but also something that you can choose to totally reject because after all, they have no idea how much fun you may have had in the process. Even if you feel that you’ve hit your limits of what you’re capable of, please don’t stop being creative because you never know when or where your next magnum opus might come from.

In this post I've got photos I found hidden on my hard drive from November 27, 2012. They were from when we had just started playing with long exposure and sparklers. Even through the blur you can see smiles as we tried new things like getting a shot of the ships in the yard, or photos of the moon (not as easy as pointing the camera up and clicking a shot) and yes, playing with sparks. Those were good times and I hope this provides inspiration for any of my readers to go out and try something new. Or even rehash something old. It’s more important to go have fun and enjoy the results.

Go ahead and learn from the masters, nothing wrong with that, but make comparisons only with your own work to mark your progress. Even if today’s results seem to be a step backwards, don’t let that discourage you because it is only another learning experience that will make for even better results tomorrow. And don’t forget to take the time to enjoy the process because each step, positive or negative, can only be lived once.

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