Tuesday, July 17, 2007

my muse departed

truck and flames I stopped taking pictures for a few weeks after meeting somebody who was so much better than me that I did not feel worthy of picking up my gear any longer. He happened to cover the same event as me. After seeing is pictures, I felt like I had never picked up a camera before.

I thought about the issue while I tried to recapture my love for the hobby. I remembered the words of one of my favorite writers (and fellow Atheist), Harlan Ellison. He said that he could not read other writers without it affecting his work. If he read Asimov, he tended to write like Asimov. Instead, He focused on developing his own voice. So... I'm back at it. I'll try to develop my own voice while I put my envy away.  It is not easy.

I looked out my truck window this morning to find a big scary truck inches from my door after the sound of emergency breaking. I did not have my Nikon with me so I shot that truck that almost ruined my day with the new Sony Cybershot I am currently evaluating for my work. I like the little camera. It is  easy to use, takes great photos, and has high quality optics. My only complaint, some of my test pictures came out over saturated when I used the flash.

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Carolyn Ann said...

When anyone gets involved in any form of self-expression, they'll always find that someone is "better". But that person isn't "them". The voice is different; the intent is not the same.

Besides, ever look at art students work? Most of it is reminiscent of some previous artist. It's impossible to develop your own "voice" without reference to what has gone before. The synthesis of lessons learned from others' is the important factor, not whether they are "better".

Keep at it, and don't get discouraged. In any creative endeavor, the first requirement is a thick skin, and a complete faith in your own ability. (Some might argue that I typify the latter...)

So what if you think Harlan Ellison better than you? I think Ansel Adams much better - I'm not even in Little League by comparison - but that doesn't stop me from learning about Adams, how he worked, how he looked at the world around him and so on. Think positive! You're good: don't kid yourself!

tina said...

Very good advice carolyn. I love his photo's!

Anonymous said...


No matter what form of expression you choose, there will always be work out there that you would judge as better than your own and other work you would judge as not as good. Also, the opinions of others concerning the same work may differ from your own.

I take pictures for fun. I have been doing so since I was maybe 7 years old and have gotten progressively better at it over the years. At about 46 now, I feel I do some pretty good work, not only with the camera, but in the post processing as well. I do look at others' work, not to compare against my own, but to appreciate what they've done and sometimes to inspire me to try new things. Even photographs I would judge as technically inferior often exhibit insights I might have missed. There is something to learn around every corner.

It's really not some kind of a competition - it's about self expression. Your imagery should reflect your thoughts and feelings and will necessarily be different than others' work even covering the same subject matter. Yes, there will be situations where you feel not as good, but don't let that knock the wind out of you. Let it instead be an inspiration to learn something new.

All that said, it certainly is a good feeling when you look at your work and realize you've really nailed the shot.

aidan said...

Interesting you mention oversaturation with Sony Cybershot. I was doing some comparison shopping and I came across complaints that it tends to produce pics with red-eye. According to one commentator the red-eye reduction feature does little to reduce this. Also a few users thought that shots in dimly lit environments came up more grainy than they should. These negatives are off-set by positive comments also, also so it seems to be a mixed bag.

As for your work, you have a knack of capturing key elements and balancing compositions nicely. The recent one you posted on the biker and the truck comes to mind.

Mojoey said...

Thanks for the kind words. I've picked my self up, dusted off my camera, and started shooting again.