I’m writing this for myself, as much as for anyone else. I need to remind myself that sometimes I just have to get on with it. Stop putting it off and just do it, to coin Nike’s phrase.
No more waiting until everything is in place. Because it never is.
Let’s face it, we will never ever feel that something is completely ready, never feel that it’s good enough, never feel that we have said it, photographed it, processed it... in the best possible way.
So get on with it. Print your work. Make a book. Host an exhibition. Launch your website. Photograph strangers. Whatever it is…do it. Unless we actually begin, we will never finish. And, do you know what? Sometimes, when we begin, we realise that the finishing part isn’t quite so hard.
Last time I said "We are all seeking the ultimate photograph. That one shot that says it all!” That wasn’t meant as a reason to give up because we will never be satisfied. It was meant as a recognition that it is that very act of striving that makes the likelihood of achieving it more likely. As Elliot Erwhitt said "Nothing happens when you sit at home."
So what is the ultimate photograph? We assume that every great photo we see is perfection itself, don’t we? Just because it’s in a book, or on a gallery wall or on Instagram. But every artist, great or small, from Sebastian Salgado to the girl next door with her selfie stick, must surely feel as we all do. That they could have done it better if…and you can finish that sentence yourself with one of over a million different reasons.
Think of your best photo. The one that you are most proud of. If you have a website, it’s that one there, right on the Home page. If you could show me - I guarantee you would also point out where it could be improved. If the light had been better; if you’d got there later, stayed there longer; if you hadn’t over saturated the processing… We all do it.
It is human nature to compare ourselves and our achievements with others. And to put ourselves down. It stems from a primeval need to survive, from a time when we humans were always on the look out for threats. But there are no sabre toothed tigers on Instagram.
We are all constantly striving for artistic perfection and never feel that we achieve it. And, do you know what? That’s fine. It’s the striving and envisioning that is important. That is how we hone our craft. By taking the shot, putting out there and gauging the response. Not by sitting back and waiting for the perfect moment.