Happy New Year!!! I love a new year; the clean slate is a priceless gift, one not to be squandered. As photography is the focus of this blog, let us reflect on some matters photographic:
What were your best 10-20 images last year? This is a great time to dig through last year’s images, and figure out what worked best, and why it worked so well. Could you have done better? What should you have done differently? Have you added these images to your portfolio yet, of whatever sort that portfolio might be? (I am deficient on this aspect!!! Something for me to work on.) Figure out what you like most about them, and use that knowledge to guide what you look to shoot this next year, and how you are going to shoot it.
What were some of your biggest failures? Learn from these also, that you might grow as a photographer, and as a person. Both successes and failures of 2014 are past (though their consequences might not be!). Let them pass. Look forward to the future. Learn, but forget.
Now, on to the heart of this post: Becoming a better photographer means you need to become a better person. As I consider my photogrpahic failures in 2014, a pattern emerges… Mt problems as a photographer stem from my problems as a person. A brief list of these: impatience, laziness, gluttony, and lack of focus on what is important. Allow me to detail:
Imaptience: Rushing to get somewhere? Has caused me to forget lenses at some, memory cards at home, drop stuff… Impatience means not waiting long enough the picture to come together. Impatience means leaving sunset before completely dark. Impatience means rusing and spooking a bird when sneaking up on it. Impatience means irritability and unnecessary conflict with those I love and those I work with.
Laziness: Not going to bed soon enough (and instead wasting time doing nothing on the internet or playing video games), not getting up early enough (see wasting time), fiddling around when I should be getting things ready to go, not cleaning or servicing gear when done for the day, not uploading and editing images after the day (soooo important for learing is this review period!), not putting stuff away, being disorganized with things, not working on things when I need to so I end up in a rush and do things last minute (see impatience).
Gluttony: I am about 60 pounds overweight. This utterly affects my performance in all areas, photography included. Obesity makes me tire more easily, which makes me lazier, which feeds impatience! How did I get this large? What happened? I was 220 about two years ago. Too much eating out, too much comfort eating, not enough exercise, and certainly not taking the problem of obesity seriously. Obesity means diabetes at my almost 260 pounds, especially with my family history of diabetes. Add in my family history of heart disease. What am I thinking as I eat? Am I mad??? How can I be so blind to this impending disaster?
Lack of Focus: I lost focus in 2014. Not enough exercise, too much wasted time, too much food, so much undone which ought to have been done, a lot done which did not need to be done, and I really did not enjoy doing. Do I really need to spend a half an hour, even an hour, surfing around for nothing? News is not all that important. Photography news is not that important. I don’t usually surf for helpful knowledge; usually, it is because I seek brainless amusement, and am putting off something I need to be doing. Lack of focus means worse images because I tire easily, do not learn from mistakes, have disorganized images, my arms wobble when using my big lens… On my problems go…
Lack of focus on what is important is a root cause for my problems. I create images to the glory of God. I also create images to bless and delight my family, friends, and all who may view them. Lack of focus comes, in part, from liking the wrong things. I liked junk food in 2014: I must not like it anymore in 2015. I liked mindless waste of time in 2014 (mental junk food): I must despise this waste in 2015. I need to build relationships with the people God has given me, not with a machine I sit around. I need to do things, not passively drift through things. Time for to walk in the Spirit instead of the flesh. Time for me to set my affection on things above, not on things on this Earth. I want to live to see my great-grandchildren, that I might bless them and teach them to live for Christ, the fourth generation who will come. My poor choices in 2014 are done. But, I do not need to be the person I was in 2014. I am saved from sin, and free to walk in newness of life. I must be this happy, positive, energetic person my family and friends need. I am a husband. I am a father. I am the Assistant Pastor at my church. But, for this blog, I am a photographer. A major part of being a better photographer is being a better person. I saw all this not to be negative. When we identify the mistakes we make, we can fix them. Admitting them is a great start. Being negative will not fix anything. Finding our value in what we can acomplish will not help anything. But, being the person we were made to be will help us to be the photographer we want to be.
Being open and honest about mistakes is freeing and relieving. I can throw away the exhausting facade of trying to look perfect. I can be me, and fix me, and even get help fixing me. This post has been rather revealing, but rather cathartic. I feel like Tony Stark (Iron Man) at the very end of Iron Man 3, which makes you Bruce Banner (The Hulk!), listening to me, hopefully not sleeping like he was!
Spend some time in introspection. Figure out: what are your personal flaws? How do these affect your photography? Where are you out of focus in your life, and what do you need to do to get back in to focus?
My link to Truth discusses the ultimate need each person has: eternal life. If you seek truth, click on it; it quotes what God says about how to know Him All life on Earth is in the end in vain if we lack eternal life. Jesus said: “I am the way, the truth, and the life; no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” “I am the resurrection and the life; he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: and whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die”. “I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentence”. “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John wrote about Jesus: “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life; he that believeth not he Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abideth on him.” Eternal life is more valuable than any treasure. Consider your life: Do you have eternal life?
More on being a better photographer to come. (A New Year’s Resolution I made: to update this blog at least twice a week. Keep me accountable!)