Photography, for me, is about seeing. Seeing things differently, with all the senses involved. But as was kindly pointed out to me in the comments of my last post, “seeing” as I’ve described it in the past, is not a prerequisite to making photographs. Practice on the other hand is a prerequisite; at least if you want to enjoy the results. I’ve been practising photography for a little over 40 years now. In my case practice hasn’t turned me into a master class photographer but then again I never took the craft too seriously or perhaps I should say, seriously enough. In any case the practice has helped me improve my success rate of making shots I enjoy. And that’s saying a lot since I do photography as a source of enjoyment.
The quote above is from Cedric’s post, The promise of happiness. Quite frankly, I love to read Cedric’s posts when he writes them because they are always so thought provoking.
In the above quote, when I ran into the words: I’ve been practising photography for a little over 40 years now. In my case practice hasn’t turned me into a master class photographer …
I thought: Interesting! What makes a master class photographer? I thought on that for a while then came up with an idea that it’s probably advertising and who you know, or more over, who knows you. Certainly, there are some good photographers out there who have put in their 10,000+ hours and have become experts. Notice I didn’t say talented because I’m not so sold on that concept. I believe to become very good you have to work at it regardless of where you started. Talent might give you a head start, but the Kung Fu, or hard work of it, makes the difference.
I would imagine that every ‘master’ level photographer has thousands, of not hundreds of thousands of rejected photographs. It’s bound to happen. Mind you, this doesn’t mean that some yahoo with a camera can go out take thousands of photos and become ‘good’. You can develop an eye, but you have to put some effort into it to by viewing the work of others, talking to other photographers, looking at art work, etc. There is no right or idea path, but you have to work at it.
The work of it, if you love it, doesn’t exist. It’s never been work for me and I’ve honed my skill to where I like it. I wouldn’t say that I’m a master class photographer because that is not a label that you bestow upon yourself. It’s something that is given.
I like the words of our Grandmaster on how to become a Grandmaster: Just keep practicing and stay alive and you’ll become a Grandmaster. Simple!
Now, this is coming from a guy who has a passion for martial arts. He’s always reading, learning, getting instruction from other masters, grandmasters, etc. He learned magic so that he could practice deceptive moves and add to his art. He’s been practicing it for nearly 60 years on a DAILY basis! It is no wonder that he has attained the rank of Grandmaster.
So, I would say that Cedric is a master level photographer after 40 years of training.