As your read this, I’m probably on the road, heading to New Orleans for a Flickr meet with some people, including my fellow contributor Brad. This will be my second trip to New Orleans, last March we took the same trip, with the same group of people. Other than the rain, it was a great trip.
In preparation for the adventure ahead, I went and pulled my archives from last year. I took over 700 pictures that weekend and as I looked through the images I realized at how bad most of them were. A few days ago I posted a picture to Flickr from that trip. In the description I wondered what I would think about it after the weekend. By all accounts, I should be a better photographer.
It poured the majority of the trip, so we were always on the go, looking for shelter from the rain. While I could use that as an excuse for the terrible photos, I won’t. The fact is I’ve had thirteen months to refine my skills, learn more about photography, and learn more about myself. In the past year my “style” has also changed as part of that process.
From time to time I’ll comb the archives looking back on old photos. Often, I find something that I didn’t see before. With a tweak and a poke an image I once thought bad, can be resuscitated. Do you go back and look at the photos you took last month, last year, ten years ago?
In our jobs we are reviewed by our bosses, maybe even have a review once and a while to look over our progress, or lack thereof. While a tedious task, if your boss is doing their job you just may uncover areas of improvement and become a better employee, well, at least better informed. When it comes to our hobbies, we have to take that task on ourselves. We should take the time now and then to look back and assess our progress. Look for areas of improvement, find things we’ve already fixed, then take actions.
The hard part is to think about all this when our eye is mashed up against the viewfinder. Just before pushing that button I often think to myself…
Will this make a good picture?
Could I be doing something different?
What is the emotion here, is there any?
If I move over an inch or two will this be a better photo?
When it comes down to digital and 8GB memory cards, I often click the button anyway. More and more I find myself just taking the camera away from my eye and moving on. So, as it is our custom, let me ask you some questions:
What do you do to reassess your photography?
Do you do anything?
What have you found out about yourself?
Do you even care?