JSP Visual Week In Review | 01.18.14
Today I want to riff on what I call “Doing The Roadwork.”
You know how when boxers get ready for a fight? They have to do the roadwork.
Usually at 5 a.m. when it’s dark, they pull on their sweatpants and sweatshirt and get out to pound the pavement.
They do the roadwork.
I think all of us trying to get better at something, anything – photography, writing, carving, painting, sports, relationships – has to put in the roadwork. Malcolm Gladwell calls it the 10,000 hours rule. But that’s to become an expert.
But I’m not talking about becoming an expert here. I’m talking about getting better and better at something. Or mastering the equipment.
A few weeks ago, I wrote about my challenges with the Fuji X-100s. I had it for four days. I’m sure if I had it longer – and put in the roadwork – it would become like an extension of me.
I don’t mean to call out my friend Stuart Sipahigil here. But he posted something on his Facebook about how the images in his Lightroom catalog have been going down. From 13,000 in 2010 to 3,820 in 2013. His goal for 2014: 24 (a role of film).
That post got me thinking. Is he shooting less? If so, why? Is he deleting more? Is he now shooting more film rather than digital (of course you’ll shoot more with digital than film – it’s more economical, more prevalent, easier to fire – all for better or worse.)
It’s a Facebook post so it wasn’t really all explained. Maybe he’ll do a blog post on it. I don’t often leave comments on FB, but I did in this case saying I think the roadwork still needs to be done. Does he want 24 keepers from 2014? Well, good luck clicking the shutter 24 times and keeping them. Or is he just saving 24 images? But why do that – how many times have we gone back into a folder and found a new angle, or a happy accident?
I don’t know his answers. Maybe he’ll do a blog post about it (hint hint). But it got me to thinking again about doing the roadwork – the weeks where I get busy or my eye doesn’t see anything and I shoot less. I feel then like I didn’t make progress. Sure, I may spray and pray something, get a quick shot out of the car window on the way to and from work. But I feel there’s cumulative buildup. It all helps me get better.
I’m certainly not saying that if Stuart isn’t keeping more photos he’s not progressing or creating. He obviously is – those images that open his website are beautiful fantastic. He’s getting it done for sure.
I recently found out about the artist James Victore. He’s quite the creative gent and I’ve been trying to get more and more of his thinking. He recently posted this video – There Are No Shortcuts – and I think it captures what I’m saying here. Give it a watch.
Tell me what you think about all this.
This Week’s Links:
* From the JSP Archives: 52 Acres and Hope (January 2011) [this will be a new feature, where I delve back into some of my old posts. Photos may appear smaller due to a different WordPress theme I was running.)
* Roger May kicks off The Daily Yonder. (I love Roger’s work and storytelling. Check him out!)
* Because we all like to see unretouched photos.
* By Jeremy Cowart – Quite the story.
* “There is no passion to be found playing small–in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.” -Nelson Mandela