Wednesday, 1 October 2008

Validation and motivation

Modern girls, Agra, India, August 2008

This week I had a friend describe my photography as "amazing". Quite a nice compliment but not one that I'll let get to my head. Trouble is, I see lots of great photography out there in Webland and quite frankly, I think I suck. I frequently disappoint myself with the output versus the intention.

However, I just posted to the web a bunch of my images from the Ladakh trip. As part of the exercise I was going back over my work from the past couple of years. (I need to do a massive archiving exercise having just filled a hard disk.)

Turns out I'm getting better (or at least I think I am). I see that the best of my current rejects (the ones that don't quite make it) are better than the worst of my previous selections (the ones that just made it). So overall I may not be any happier with my output than I was but in a side-by-side comparison I think my stuff is a lot better than it was. And that is what keeps me going - the strive to constantly improve, knowing that I'm not as good as I want to be, and then seeing the improvement unfold.


  1. You pondered an interesting question, about "how good" you are at something. I feel that there is no single answer.

    My main occupation has centered aournd writing for a long time, and every once in a while I have felt that my skills have been going downhill. And I guess that has once in a while been also true by some arbitrary measure. But later on I have realised that these "detours" have been necessary to find something new, which has in fact then helped to improve the skills by a big step.

    Photography is such a nice hobby for a novice like me that there is so much to learn. Thus you keep improving (or feel that you are improving) despite failing all the time. Without failure, no progress.

  2. Martin, I think that we all suffer from the self-doubts from time to time.

    But I do agree that I have seen your work make a steady progress, which is probably all that we can hope for, eh?

  3. Doug, thanks for the vote of confidence.

    Actually, I think continual low-level self doubt is what keeps me motivated in life in general.


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