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Do you feel like Chris Packham?

Discussion in 'Open Discussion' started by Spuff, Nov 6, 2012.

  1. Spuff

    Spuff Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Dec 5, 2010
    Berkshire, UK.
    'Call me hardcore, but I have not a single image of my own on my walls. Because I cannot like a single one of them, cannot live with their inadequacies. I see them only as markers of an extremely slow and painful course of progress towards that impossible ideal which I fantasise and day-dream of and always will. Call me obnoxious hardcore, but I think that if you do have your own pictures on your walls then your satisfaction constitutes a hindrance to that progress.

    So do I like/enjoy making pictures? Do I find it rewarding? Of course not. It's a task which causes me massive frustration, intense, repeated and prolonged disappointment, it can honestly manifest some form of insanity in me, and the exhausting self-depreciation and dissatisfaction can reach levels which promote real depression.

    Sadly the generous flattery of others who do like my pictures is scant antidote as I know they cannot see what I missed and therefore their judgement however heartfelt is not enough.'

    Do any of you feel like that?
    I to some extent do.

    Chris Packham . . . only for really hardcore photographers

    (funny the link comes out like that - it doesn't say that in the visible URL)
  2. meyerweb

    meyerweb Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Sep 5, 2011

    Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying my work is brilliant, or that I can't stand to improve. But some of my images are good enough that I'm very happy to display them. Good enough to get a gallery show? Well, maybe a few, but certainly not most. Maybe not any. But certainly good enough that I can take enjoyment from them, and good enough the others seem to take enjoyment from them, too.
  3. jloden

    jloden Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 15, 2012
    Hunterdon County, NJ
    Heh... I know the feeling of seeing the inadequacies in your own work, but I can't say I take it to that extreme. Even accounting for my own failings as a photographer, I do still take the occasional shot I like, or that has a personally meaningful subject.

    I got into photography first and foremost as a way to come back from vacations with photos of our trips that better captured the sense of "being there". This past summer we went to Alaska, the first major trip since I got really seriously into photography, and it was also the first time I came home with pictures that evoked the way I remembered the trip. They're not perfect - for many of the shots I can easily envision an improved composition or exposure, and certainly I missed many great shots altogether. But, I can still look at the photos I came home with and pick out some that I consider good work and great memories, and there are several that are almost certainly going to end up wall prints as well.
  4. Hyubie

    Hyubie Unique like everyone else

    Oct 15, 2010
    My wall is my wall - if my kids can put their "art" in there, I'd put mine too - and BIGGER to boot! :biggrin:

    So am I good enough? Yes, only to me and family and friends who are used to their P&S. Maybe a picture or two will get noticed by people other than that group -- but hey, even a broken clock is correct twice a day. :smile: Will I get paid/publicly displayed anytime soon? Maybe when my fairy godmother pays me a visit.

    Seriously, yes I am critical of my work, but not to the point of it being a constant source of torture. Life is too short for that. Thinking about it though - I probably will if food, school, and mortgage depended on it.
  5. phrenic

    phrenic Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 13, 2010
    Nope. I think he thinks too much about it. I don't understand this theoretical ideal he strives for...art by its nature is imperfect, why not enjoy it for what it is. He's obviously a talented photographer, so I don't see why he can't just put up his photos to enjoy in his homeand to allow others to also appreciate it for what it is.

    That said,I do see the enjoyment in improving and the journey to get there...the process and self reflection, criticism and growth is important too. So maybe thats what is more important to him.

    -Trevor (an amateur who is happy to show off imperfect photos to average viewers)
  6. RevBob

    RevBob Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Jun 4, 2011
    NorthWestern PA
    +1 To have that level of expectation and frustration would be unbearable. Why, then, bother taking photos? I shoot for the sheer joy of it and sometimes something wonderful emerges. I strive to get better so that those moments emerge more often but I'm not about to beat myself up when they don't. I don't earn my living with photography - I enhance my life. :cool: 
  7. Kees

    Kees Mu-43 Regular

    Jun 30, 2011
    The Netherlands
    Kees Dignum
    When I think I've made a brilliant picture that'll look good on my wall, there is going to be a BIG print of this brilliant picture hanging on my wall. I made a few, and whenever I look at them I think that, honestly, if I get any better I'll explode. :eek: 
    (Modesty is probably the greatest virtue, I'm glad I have it :cool: )
  8. ptolemyx

    ptolemyx Mu-43 Veteran

    Jun 19, 2012
    Vancouver, BC
    Sounds like he's heavily invested in the idea of the angst-filled artiste. And then there's the implication: if a photographeur of his caliber is so consumed with self-doubt, how naive is the amateur who enjoys his own pictures...
  9. RobWatson

    RobWatson Mu-43 Hall of Famer


    It is not a question of angst or self doubt. All the greats (in any field) simply refused to accept the current state as anyway complete or finished. Always striving to improve is a heavy burden and we are always doomed to fail. Finding value in failure is hard ... learning from our mistakes and growing is the goal.

    Heck, we are all going to die anyway so why bother even getting out of bed? Really?

    Rage against the dying of the light. Miles to go before I sleep. Forget Atlas and become Sysiphus by choice. Mastery is not an end state but a living ongoing process.

    Anyway, works for me.
  10. Djarum

    Djarum Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Dec 15, 2009
    Huntsville, AL, USA
    On some level I agree with him. For me, if its not challenging, I won't do it. I want a challenge. That means I'm going to fail at times. That means I'm going to have to work at it. At the end of it all though, I do it for those few good ones I get. Right now though, I'm not sure it's any better than snapping away like I was a few years back. I think my keeper rate is slightly better though. For me, I'm usually frustrated by the timing thats only created by a certain light during the day.
  11. GaryAyala

    GaryAyala Mu-43 Legend

    Jan 2, 2011
    I enjoy the enjoyment my images have produced in others. I do a lot of volunteer work, much of it photography for a local high school (Whitney High School in Cerritos). Facebook is filled with my images of students.

    I actually enjoy capturing the exceptional image. I use a bar of "is it publishable?" as a guide. I saw a Kodak commercial where seemingly every square inch of wall is covered by a photograph ... I decided to do the same with my walls. (The living room has images only from the backyard. The office has images of my children. The kitchen and front hall has a mix.)

    Are my images good enough to be viewed by others without being embarrassed ... yeah. Is there room for improvement ... yeah. I will rotate my hanging photos with images which I deem better than those hanging.

    I have always believed that to improve at a rapid pace one has to be one's own worst critic. But a critic needs to be able to praise when justified as well as identify the bad.

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