Five years ago, I fortunately met a great educator who incoherently taught me a great lesson. Since then I have continued this life lesson and when reflecting upon my journey into photography I have realized that it was built on a strong foundation. We have been good acquaintance and kept in touch through Facebook likes and comments. I say incoherently because I’ve heard his “mantra” at least three times a week and everyday if I’m so lucky. So why did it just suddenly kick in? I was in a rut and wanted to extend my bounds in photography. As artists, we are our own worst critic when it comes to our own craft. And you can only get so much online information that it spills over and out of your ears. So then what? You practice. And with the great words comes, “Practice makes progress.” Genius right? You mean if I continue practicing I’m progressing? Sure absolutely. So what does every brilliant artist that we’ve learned in elementary school do? Practice. I continue to practice and practice, plus I’ve added an older love to the component. I practice on 35mm and medium format film.
With film, it would be illogical to just snap away multiple rolls of the same photos then get them developed and pick out the best ones and edit later in front of a computer. Instead, you can take your time and really pick and choose about what is “picture worthy”. It all comes together since I was a young kid. I loved watching movies and started to see things cinematically. Then picking up my parent’s SLR was fun because I get to imagine and take photos and then anxiously waiting for the prints. Fast forward about 25 years and now I’m progressing to defining my photography more technically. To be inspired by other photographers, artists, independent-lesser known movies, realism, current events and sports practicing with film helps with that.
When I practice I think of three basic things; nailing the exposure, defining the composition and taking a risk. So you can see with the photos how fun it would to just have a camera in your hand and more manually than an iPhone, snap away. It’s fun to have two beautiful girls to take photos of and be my muse. As you can see I can take my SLR anywhere and take great photographs of life travels, family vacations and just hanging around. So back to the lesson at hand, practice does make progress. You should be encouraged to practice whatever you do more and more. Progress can go a long way with no boundaries of the end destination. Reflecting through my personal photography has immensely helped with my professional photography. Often enough when I speak to veteran professional photographers and show them my work, I’m complimented by them repeatedly on my ethics of practicing. Thanks for the lesson, Mr. Chriss. Cheers to you.