Comparing – healthy or a danger?

I was reading Amateur Photography yesterday and was drawn to the article on Still Life. This is something I’ve dabbled with in the past. The article featured three photographers, the first of which was Angi Wallace.

I quickly went to her website

I was really impressed with the quality of her work. Most of the images were – stunning. Not just the still life, but the landscapes as well.

I buy Amateur Photographer because there are a lot of articles like this that feature really great photographers, and often I look to them for inspiration. The thing is, Angi has not been a photographer all that long – or, at least, not nearly as long as me.

This got me thinking. Why is it I have not improved? Why are my images, compared to work like Angi’s – basically crap? I will make excuses like “well, I work full time, I’m working away from home, and basically I don’t get time” – but is that reasonable? Perhaps. There are a couple of photographers I mention below who are either professional and full time, or who have no other job am can spend every day improving as photographers if that’s what the want to do. So there may be some justification in my excuse? Then again I consider the likes of Charlie Davidson, a mate of mine, who also works full time but is a much, much better photographer than I. Conclusion – it’s a poor excuse.

I tend to go full into whatever it is I’m interested in at the time. When I took up golf – my first card for a handicap was 103, and after others at round about the same scores, I was given a handicap of 22. Cut a long story short, I took lessons, practiced, worked hard on what the instructor told me to work on, and was disciplined and dedicated – but did not really improve. Yes, I got down to 17, got into a few finals (most of which I lost), shot a net 52 at the Ashludie course in Monifieth in a competition, but ultimately finished shooting back in three figures and gave the game up. I concluded I just didn’t have it. And as far as I’m concerned – that was the right call.

Rose Ronald Dhal (supplied by David Austin Roses)

I’ve kind of done the same with Photography – investing quite a lot of cash on workshops etc and, trust me, they are not cheap. I’ve bought books, bought online courses, spend hours looking at videos and attended RPS events etc. but I’m still nowhere near where I want to be. Not even close.

The other thing about it is our son was a brilliant athlete and footballer when at the school. Several senior clubs showed interest. Athletics wise he was in the top 3 or 4 for just about everything at school – 100, 200, 800, 1500, long distance. One of those who was really quick but also had ” a great engine” the football coaches used to say. I used to encourage him to concentrate on one event : but he just liked all of them. Very sporty.

I wonder if my photography suffers from that? The problem is I like all of it : I concluded I just like pressing the shutter! Is that the issue? Is that why the Angis of this world are so much better? I may add it’s not just Angi – at the (small) Photographic society I’m in just now there is a guy who keeps winning everything with basically minimalistic long exposures of seascapes – which I quite like – but find a little boring. He was recently featured in Outdoor Photography Magazine. Again, I’m not even close to his standard – despite being a photographer for a lot longer. This lack of progress is frustrating.

There’s a guy I follow on YouTube – Tin House Studio – and he has a brilliant tendency to bring us down to earth. I’ve sent some images to some of these magazines a couple of times and have yet to get a reply – never mind have a feature – the logical conclusion aligns with Tim House Studio’s – basically they are crap!

Anyway – I’ve just embarked on a course which I’m really hoping will propel me to the next level. As mentioned above it’s not as if I’ve never attended workshops – the latest one was with a brilliant photographer called Margaret Soraya who is extremely encouraging and was trying to make me understand the power of practice. She believed I could improve with practice. Margaret had another instructor on the course – Lesley Lintott – and I was also blown away with her work. She, too, was very encouraging and helped me with my first footsteps in ICM. The other thing to note is I definitely learn much better when tutored at a live event by a real person, rather than by video. Not sure why that is, but it just is.

To conclude – yes I found Angi’s work very inspiring and – like Margaret’s. Lesley’s and Tin House Studio’s – gives me something to aim at. But I’m wondering how much time I will need to invest to get even close to these standard, and if I will ever be able to give the necessary commitment to do so?

That’s a question only I can answer.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at
%d bloggers like this: