When I am out and about, I am constantly looking for interesting subject matter to photograph and I am always mindful of the importance of practice. If you study anyone who has mastered a skill whether they are a painter, composer, photographer, athlete, writer or anyone who has been fortunate enough to excel in their field, you will find that they have spent a great deal of time practicing and practicing with purpose.
In Malcolm Gladwell’s book entitled “Outliers”, Malcolm writes, “The idea that excellence at performing a complex task requires a critical minimum level of practice surfaces again and again in studies of expertise. In fact, researchers have settled on what they believe is the magic number for true expertise: ten thousand hours.” I am not sure how many hours I have been practicing my photography but I know that the only way I can improve is to keep practicing.
It is not difficult for me to put in the time because I love photography and being creative. If I could, I would spend all of my time focusing on my creative endeavours; however, that is not really practical. I have come to learn that balance is an important part of a happy life. Therefore, I practice my photography wherever and whenever I can. If I do not have my Nikon with me, I can always rely on my iPhone. It is lightweight, compact and fits nicely into my handbag.
Jim and I visited Disney’s Magic Kingdom last week and as I walked past the confectionary store on Main Street, I noticed a display that spoke to my heart. I did not set out to do any photography in the park that day; however, thanks to my iPhone, I was able to capture the image above.
When I photograph a subject, I like to tell a story about how I felt when I took the image or I try to capture what I see as the ‘gesture’ of my subject. For me, finding beauty in the ordinary is very important. I feel that sometimes we miss the beauty of simple or ordinary things because we are distracted by the belief that perfection is more important. I am not saying that perfection is a bad thing, but I feel that we can be too hard on ourselves and others when we believe that anything less than perfection is not good enough. It took me a long time to learn this lesson. This is ultimately what I am trying to convey in my photography, painting and other creative endeavours.
Are you practicing your photography or other skills on a fairly regular basis? What do you hope to master through practice?
“For the things we have to learn before we can do them, we learn by doing them.”