Wednesday, November 11, 2009

I'm on Safari to Stay!

Man, it has been a really long time since I've had something worthwhile to write about on the blog! My girlfriend and I recently bought our first house together and it has been one long, crazy ride... but that is another story.

Today I read an article by one of my favorite photographers, Joe McNally, that really left an impression on me.

His latest blog post was about a reply to a letter he wrote to a young college student who was unsure about what he wanted to do in his life. Now I'm not a 19 year old student wondering what I'm going to do with my life (I'm 37 and wondering... kidding!) but what I took away from his post is a statement he made toward the end...

and I quote, "...there is so much still to do, so much ground to cover, and my best work is still out there, somewhere. I am still on safari here, the great picture hunt, as someone once called it."

After I thought about this, it really became clear to me that I couldn't have said how I feel about my own work as a photographer any better than this.

For me photography is a drug that has me addicted with no hope of rehab. I constantly get frustrated with my own results when I see so many other talented photographers consistently producing awesome work. But then, I think, this is what draws me to improve my own skill, to perfect my craft, to continue learning and experimenting in every way I can. Don't get me wrong, I have one or two photos I've taken over time that I really like and think they are decent works, but I still have this yearning for something better, to take a photo that gives me that euphoric feeling of bliss and the moment of A-HA, THAT'S THE ONE!

With every frame I take, I usually grumble about the color, or the composition, or the lighting, or the fact that my subject had one eye closed, etc. etc. but, by analyzing my own work so stringently, hopefully, I will learn from it, and remember it the next time my shutter finger gets itchy.

If a master photographer like McNally says he's still searching for that one, mind blowing, earth shattering image (and he has thousands of these already imho) then where does that leave me??? I'm not comparing myself to him or any other photographer, and I'm not suggesting you do either, but that drive to continually capture that one true moment that makes your knees weak and your eyes gleam, is what will push us all to become better at what we do.

I just can't forget this line "I am still on safari here, the great picture hunt, as someone once called it." cool is that?

On a side note, I heard another photography related quote that I thought I'd share:

"Getting in to photography is like getting in to prostitution. First, you do it for fun, then you do it for friends, then you do it for money." ...or something very similar - Dean Collins


1 comment:

Unknown said...

The McNally quote has been haunting me for the last few days as well. It is both daunting and comforting at the same time to know other photographers of all levels feel the same way - especially given that I am a new photographer. Fortunately, I have found an awesome new group of friends who I feel I can ask any question and enjoy all things photographic with -- including you, John. Thanks for a great post about a great post.