Getting Better at Photography

When Thomas collected his favorite pictures from the past year for his only annual post I also had a look through our year in photographs. A number of my favorites differ from his, but one thing that stood out to me was just how many photographs from the past year I truly loved. When you start any creative project there's this gap between the work you want to create and what you can create. Expertise is not learned overnight and while I devoured the work of Tim Walker and Rodney Smith and others back in my early days of blogging and photography, my work was a far cry from theirs (my work is probably still a far cry from theirs!). It can be incredibly frustrating to have an idea of what you want your art to look like and then time and time again see your art fall short of that lofty goal. Even that frustration in the beginning is a good thing though--recognizing your need for improvement is necessary in order to strive for better. Recognizing good, mediocre, and bad art is necessary for ultimately creating good art. If we thought everything we did was brilliant, we'd never feel the need to improve. Bad and mediocre are necessary steps towards good and amazing.
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peatlandspale-34Most years when I look back on photographs only a few shoots or even just shots please me. I'll look at those photographs and think "yes, those ones I'm happy with." While I'll only see the problems in other shoots--times when I don't love the outfits in retrospect, or I regret an editing choice, or only see the problems in exposure, focus, or composition, or general lack of inspiration and personality in a shoot. Looking back on 2019 I'm surprised and pleased by how many photographs and shoots I am still genuinely happy with. It was quite a good year for photographs; partly due as well to the lovely spring we had and the beautiful areas I was privileged to wander and explore. I also have to berate myself for certain shoots I loathed at the time and that now I think, "that was perfectly lovely, why did you beat yourself up over it?!" (This is one such shoot; I didn't like it much when I posted, but now I think has a quiet beauty.) My mental vision of how I want my pictures to look is finally lining up with my skills and finished product. peatlandspale-79There's always still room for improvement and more to learn, but I've reached a point where what I want to create looks like what I can and do create and that feels pretty amazing. It's been more than a decade in development, so I suppose it's about time! This also makes for excellent timing however as I'm looking forward to selling my first ever prints soon. I received my first samples this week and it was remarkable holding my work in my hands for the first time. I'm thrilled with how they look and while I'm starting small (a few postcards and a handful of larger prints) I'm so excited to share the work with you.
peatlandspale-66 peatlandspale-45-side peatlandspale-39We're quite early into January, a bitter and bleak month to shoot in, but despite the elements being harsh I love how calm and quiet these pictures look. I've managed to find inspiration in a season I usually hate; I've focused on the warm, earthy tones and textures and created a shoot I think is beautiful in it's own way. I even managed to cajole my dog into a few photographs! Ironically, life has been anything but calm and quiet lately despite what the pictures might look like, and I'm not just referring to the literal storm that swept through Ireland on Monday! Between all the work I've been putting into new products and my shop, my patron, and the general awkward bits of life we all deal with (awk taxes!), life has been full and busy. But as much as I like the calm and quiet, full and busy is good as well. New challenges force you to grow, busy schedules to prioritize, and chaos makes you appreciate the quiet moments all the more when they do come again. peatlandspale-5
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