It has always taken me longer to memorize something or to understand a concept. I usually have to fight for it. But there is a fine line between working hard to become better and working obsessively to become perfect.
Since I spent my college years pursuing Social Work rather than photography, I did not get the formal training that other photographers have had the privilege of experiencing. I am quite stubborn though and whenever I am trying to figure something out, I will keep working at it until I get it. Since I had to teach myself how to speak "camera," I also have spent a lot of time critiquing my own work. Now every time I make a mistake, I study it, learn from it, and choose to do better the next time. But in all of this, I also am now being quite critical of my work as a whole. When I see a photo, I see all the things wrong in it rather than the parts of it that are beautiful.
Don't get me wrong, being critical of our work is what makes us better photographers. But there is a fine line between being critical for the sake of growth and being critical in an effort to achieve perfectionism.
Macro Photograph of a Single Snowflake
ISO 400 ~ 60mm ~ f/5.0 ~ 1/40 sec
© Corrie M Avila
When I originally took this photograph of a snowflake, I almost trashed it. It was not what I wanted. I had an image in my mind and this did not meet my expectations. There is nothing wrong with the photo from a technical standpoint, it just did not meet my artistic expectations. In an effort to fulfill this weeks Paint the Moon 52 project titled "Negative Space," I went ahead and processed this snowflake photo and submitted it. Much to my surprise, I have gotten insane amounts of positive feedback from this photograph. And this was something that I was ready to throw out...
This applies to more than just photography... In life we need to work hard, learn well, and practice constantly... We need to be critical for the sake of growth but not lean so far over that we begin expecting perfection. This is just a setup for failure and disappointment.
I am learning, I am growing, and I am trying really hard to look at my photographs with both a photographer's eye, but also with the eye of an art aficionado.
Capturing the Moment,
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