I’ve been wanting to make a listicle for a while now. But I never had the time, or really the subject matter, until one night I was looking through my photos and confirmed what I had thought previously. I’m still a horrible photographer, though by horrible I mean insufferable and by photographer, I mean unfocused point-and-shooter. That’s why I decided to share my thoughts with you. Hopefully, just maybe, somebody, somewhere, will read them and think, Oh wait I’m not alone — there’s another hot mess out there just like me. There might be other reasons too but I am just listing my top 5.
So let’s go into the deepest, most private, uncensored top 5 reasons I’m not a great photographer just yet (excluding my lack of proficiency at anything camera related).
#1 I’m thinking too much
I tend to get muddled in my own thoughts — stuck in an endless loop, repeating the same, repeating the same usual concepts. It’s obvious in my writing. I like fragmentary structures, sentences, and metaphors. Also, speaking about metaphors, I suck at them — I’m too literal — it’s as if I were a child that just realized colors and is amazed that I can see these hues and tones. (You see, that’s a lazy metaphor: in fact, it’s not a metaphor. I’m still a child.)
This overwrought, convoluted, pipe smoke for pipe smoke thinking leaves me distracted photographically. How am I supposed to capture a moment that speaks visually when I can’t focus visually.
#2 I love reading too much
If you love reading then imagine yourself reading. Not a pretty sight, at least not in my case. I’m either stuck on the toilet — calzones at my ankles — squeezing the air out of the room, while reading Bolaño‘s scab-tense poems. Or reading on my bed, scratching myself, oblivious to the world around me.
This is not great for photography. Creating images is doing. It is action. It is movement. It is being outside with the world. Reading, understandably, is about being within yourself. I read too much.
#3 I don’t have patience
Yes, this can be a real downer. But photography takes patience, takes a knowing hand that won’t quit or stray or even complain. That hand — this steady hand that moves with both grace and force — comes from a stillness, meditation, or quiet sphere somewhere deep inside. It is patience that forces you to let your guard down. It is patience that forces you to relax.
I don’t have patience. Never had. Never will. I ain’t got time for that learning zen stuff. So this another reason I’m not a great photographer yet.
#4 I’m quiet and uneasy around strangers, people, anyone or anything really
So as you can probably tell from my previous posts, I love street photography. Unlike other genres, street photography has that kinetic desire to never look back. There’s an unquestionable honesty about it. If you don’t believe me then let me illustrate what a street photographer does: he/she takes photos of strangers — in their face, with or without their acknowledgement — and then leaves. It’s a beastly act.
Since I’m drawn to this genre of shooting, I would have to be amazingly clever or stark-mad forthright. I am not — at least when calm and collected — and I don’t have personality to photograph people at their most public (which as we all know is their most private). So that leads me to reason five.
#5 I haven’t practiced/ I need to shoot more
Being a curator at PhotoWhoa, I’ve had the privilege of interviewing many outstanding artists and inspiring photographers. Really, it’s the best part of the job. So much good work to see, understand, interpret, translate, and share with everyone that reads this blog.
And everyone of these geniuses says the same to me when I ask. Laura Pannack said it. Delphine Diaw Diallo has said it as well. So has Geordie Wood, Julian Berman, Satoki Nagata. If you want to become a better photographer, you have to do what a photographer does. You got to shoot more! Everyday! All the time! If this is your passion, your art, your calling, then take it seriously. No hobby becomes a career. Only discipline becomes a career.
That’s the main reason I haven’t become a great photographer just yet. I haven’t practiced. Everyone has their top 5 more or less, list down your top 5 and write in the comments below.