Focus - Photo Challenge: What I've Learned
Photo challenge - done. We have reached the end of our themes. We have now done 23 topics. Most of these took only one week, but some stretched to 2 or more. In total we have spent almost 7 months on this project. I have to say that I think that's pretty intense. I have done two other projects before and each of them only lasted a month. So this project was much longer and more intense at times. The other 2 projects were done just to push myself. I took a picture each day for a theme and posted it. I didn't really get feedback other than people saying they liked an image. There was no criticism of the images. There is nothing wrong with that, but it didn't push me in the same way as this one did. For this past 7 months I have submitted my work to another photographer every week or two. That is pressure - especially since he has so much more experience than me. It has also been great to see the different way we approach the same idea.
So, what am I writing about this week? Well, we decided that on this last week we would also write down what we have learned or how we have benefited from this project. That's easy...I have been pushed. As I have spent this last year breaking into my pursuit of photography I have had a huge amount of support. Many people have told me they like my photography. I have sold a lot of artwork. I have even been hired to photograph 3 beautiful homes. But, I never had anyone tell me what was wrong with my images. Mind you, I'm not looking for people to point out everything I do wrong in my photography (the list is long), but getting constructive criticism was new to me.
Here is the best way I can think to put it: I have had a photography sensei. He is an intense photographer and has high a very high standard. He has not been negative about my work but has always had input into how to make the lighting better or the composition stronger or where my focus should have been (or even that I should just delete a shot). So, he has pushed me. And that has been really good. I think I have improved dramatically over the last 7 months.
Thinking about what to write reminded me of a story I heard recently. I don't remember the details exactly, but I will convey the intent still. The story was of a young piano player. He played a performance at a grand venue. When he finished, the audience erupted in a standing ovation. The man left the stage as expected. The man in charge of the theater came back to tell him he should go back out for an encore because the people loved him. He looked out from the curtain and saw one man still sitting. He said he would not go out for an encore because of that man. The theater owner told him that was foolish to not go out because of only one person, since all the other people were amazed. The piano player said, "That man is my instructor. If he is not standing, then I have not done well enough."
Well that leads me to the only image I am going to put on this page. We had a theme about 2 months ago to reshoot something we had already done in the past. I went back and reshot the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth. When I showed this photo, he said "I've got nothing." That was my moment of have the instructor applaud my performance. I nailed it in his eyes. That was a big deal.
The last thing I will say about this challenge was how I feel about it now versus how I felt in the beginning. When he suggested this idea I thought "There is no way I can show my work to you each week. I'm no good." Well, I think I have a long way to go, but now I would consider myself a peer.
So, we are done with our photo challenge. We are planning on taking the rest of the summer off and then come up with some new idea. I am still going to keep writing even though we are finished with this challenge. I don't know what it will be or how often, but I do enjoy this part of it.
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Keywords: Architecture, Challenge, Fort Worth, Fort Worth Photography, Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, Photo Challenge, The Modern
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