I’ve mentioned before that improving my photography is something I’m determined to do. I have always been a pretty visual person, and can see in my mind exactly the type of images that I want to share in order to communicate what I do, what I love and what I offer at the barn. But there’s a gap, a big one, between the images in my mind and my ability to create them! A couple of years ago this would have simply frustrated me beyond measure and I would probably have abandoned the idea. Perhaps it’s age, or perhaps it’s experiencing the benefits of tenacity in other projects, but I’m feeling a little more patient with the process. I can’t remember where I first came across this quote from Ira Glass, but I read it again this week and find it so reassuring that I thought I’d share it below. There’s also a great little video here.
“Nobody tells this to people who are beginners, I wish someone told me. All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase, they quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know its normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you will finish one story. It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met. It’s gonna take awhile. It’s normal to take awhile. You’ve just gotta fight your way through.”
I am undisputedly a beginner when it comes to photography, but I am slowly learning how to create the shots that catch my eye. I’ve spent the last couple of years happily snapping away on my iPhone. I currently have a 7 Plus which honestly produces incredibly good images with very little input from me, its ease of use has allowed me though to begin to understand a little about colour, light and composition without the stress I perceived I would encounter in using a complicated camera.
M has always enjoyed photography and to my shame I have to confess that I have never been very patient, never quite understanding why he would need to take 500 pictures of a sunset while I entertained the children. It was probably just a question of timing. I now have a ‘proper’ camera of my own purchased with money that my Grandmother left to my Mum and she generously shared. Somehow this connection helps motivate me not to leave it sitting in a cupboard, but to really use it to its fullest capability and I am just beginning to appreciate the pleasure of the challenge that shooting on manual presents.
While we were in Paris a couple of weeks ago I took hundreds of photos while trying to get to grips with the numerous and complicated functions of my camera. But I’m getting there. I’ve deleted almost as many pictures as I’ve taken (feels like more!) and I’m beginning to understand the basics of shooting in manual mode thanks to some expert help from the very lovely Catherine East. M deserves great credit for his patience and encouragement as I stopped more often than a toddler or sniffy dog while we strolled around Paris in the sunshine.
Instagram too has been a wonderful source of photographic inspiration and I have a group of ‘pocket pals’ whose support I massively appreciate; their generous sharing of resources and knowledge is one of the highlights of my online world. I frequently feel overwhelmed by the talent I see in everyone else and my first instinct is often that “I’ll never be able to do that”. However, I’m determined to overcome this negative way of thinking and embrace the learning process.
I’m excited at the prospect of eventually being able to share here and on social media some of the images I see in my mind, to be able to capture the atmosphere during workshops at Oak Tree Barn, to record and share the creation of a garden I hope others will one day aspire to and to entice people with mouth watering images of food. In the meantime the challenge is keeping me on my toes and I love how it is helping me really ‘see’ the things around me.
If you have any favourite photographic inspirations or resources to share I’d really love to hear about them in the comments below, and if you’d like to follow my photographic exploits why not join my mailing list to receive a monthly update on life and events at Oak Tree Barn?