Fear. When allowed, it can encroach into many facets of life. I recently changed my Musings image to the left as a daily reminder to myself that courage is a vital ingredient in many of life’s endeavors and is not lost in the arts. There was a point in my photographic pilgrimage eight months ago when I began to take this hobby seriously. Seriously enough to no longer view what I do as a mere hobby, but a passion where I could no longer excuse mediocre work by saying I was just having ‘fun.’ Oh yes, I do have fun, but not in the same context I did when I first started this craft. My ‘fun’ now entails using my imagery as my voice, my conduit to express how I feel and view the world by presenting the best I can do with each image.
During a Star Motorcycle Pro School Jason Pridmore told me during a practice session, ‘Decide when you want to pass your opponent and then commit to your plan. Hesitation will cost you in both time and physical pain.’ Little did I realize five years ago that his advice would apply to photography and to life. Although I never view photography as a competitive sport like racing, I am constantly competitive with my own best work. Continuing to improve is incremental, a personally painful process of experimentation and ‘slowing down to get faster’ as we use to say in racing.
Recently one of my art mentors, Larry who I’ve mentioned countless times on this blog wrote to me and said, ‘Don’t settle for good, as it is the enemy of great. And great is the enemy of exceptional.’ And Leigh another of my mentors always tells me to be patient, that progress in art takes time and to not examine my work under the microscope of time.
So this is where the fear comes into play. I am experimenting with new ways of capturing the images I feel convey the feeling and tone of what I want to say. I’m changing and that in and of itself produces fear, for each of us avoids change. Some moderately, some passionately and a lucky few genuinely embrace change. Thelma Blizzard is one of those unusual individuals who seems to thrive on artistic change. My hat’s off to her and the other people who support me emotionally and artistically in this craft.
So I’m going to slow down a bit to go faster. Interspersed through my images will be pictures that may work and may not. I’ll always go with my gut, but sometimes my gut will betray me, but only for a bit. I’m willing to put aside fear for the simple yet complex reward of improvement.