The bigger picture
I have discovered that, the more I photograph, the more critical I become of my photography. I am focusing on certain aspects instead of looking at the total image. This makes me delete pictures that I should have kept. There are so many things to be aware of and to take into consideration when you’re learning photography, and being over critical might stem from not feeling confident enough.
“If you spend your life over analysing every encounter you will always see the tree, but never the forest.”
― Shannon L. Alder
Do something upstream
It’s not always easy to see the bigger picture. You only have to do something upstream to understand how this is, not only you, but also the people around you. Deciding to study teaching was not really something that I felt very passionate about. Thinking back, it was just something to roll with. Most of my friends who left school, went on to University to go and study and I thought I should be too. Little was I to know that it was exactly what I would need many years later when I decided to home educate my three children when we moved to England. At the time, this was not something that many people were familiar with, and I must admit, neither was I. Although having had the teaching education, there were many things I had to learn as we went along. There were many challenges on the way and many times I wondered if I was doing it things right. This was my children’s future I had to think of, and the responsibility laid heavy on my shoulders.
One thing I discovered very soon was that if my children could see the year’s work in advance and know what they will have to finish by the end of the year, they knew very well that every day counted, and the work of the day had to be done. They began to understand what they were working towards.
Critique makes you think
I loved the experience of teaching my children and if I had to do it all over again, I would. There were so many things that I learnt about them by teaching them and also things I learnt about myself. What I did find difficult at times, were handling critique from people who could not understand the idea of home-schooling. What I realised later was have that critique makes us think about what we are doing and why. If we are able to give reasons for why we are doing things a certain way, we also confirm these reasons to ourselves. One of the questions that was asked the most, was about socialising. This usually the first question: “But how do your children get to socialise?”. To be honest, this was the least of my home-schooling worries, in fact, it was not even on the radar. This is how we sometimes have preconceived ideas of things we have no experience of and how we focus on one aspect rather than looking at the overall concept.
Do your own thing
This happens to me with my photography as well. I sometimes make a judgement on some of my pictures that is really not even a relevant problem. It makes me blind to the best aspects of the picture and what it is about. Maybe this is how our brains sometimes work, and this makes us miss out on something that’s so much bigger than the one aspect we notice or think about. There is always the “supposed to be” that we want to follow, rather than realising that doing things a bit different can also work. So yes, I deleted so many photographs that could have worked just because of being uniformed and not confident enough.
Drops will fill the bucket
Learning something new and attempting to do it, involves some courage. Finding your own style in your own way, is part of the learning process. It helps to see the bigger picture and remind myself what I am working towards. Every day that I learn something new, take another photograph, deal with critique and make a mistake, are all drops that will fill the bucket. I accept that not everybody will like my photography, and this is also good. I have beginning to enjoy all the stories behind my photographs, and this makes it all worth taking.
“If you quit on the process, you are quitting on the result.”
― Idowu Koyenikan
“Many of life's failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.”
― Thomas A. Edison